Skip to main content

Full text of "History of Alexander, Union and Pulaski Counties, Illinois"

See other formats


:^amamma 


LIBRARY  OF  THE 

UNIVERSITY  OF  ILLINOIS 

AT  URBANA-CHAMPAIGN 


977c39 
P42h 


I   o  H  o  b    o 


HISTORY 


OF 


JjJj 


XAIER,  Union  Al  POLASRI CODNTIES, 


IKL.INOIS. 


B33ITEX>  ,3Y    AAT'IXjIjIJ^Iid:    HElTR-y    X'ER/R/IIT. 


ILLUSTRATE.D 


CHICAGO: 

O.  L.  BASKIN  &  CO.,  HISTORICAL  PUBLISHERS, 

183  Lake  Street. 

1883. 


PREFACE. 


rpHE  history  of  Alexander,  Union  and  Pulaski  Counties,  after  months  of  persistent  toil  and 
-L  research,  is  now  completed,  and  it  is  believed  that  no  subject  of  universal  public  impor- 
tance or  interest  has  been  omitted,  save  where  protracted  effort  failed  to  secure  reliable  results- 
We  are  well  aware  of  our  inability  to  furnish  a  perfect  history  from  meager  public  documents 
and  numberless  conflicting  traditions,  but  claim  to  have  prepared  a  work  fully  up  to  the  standard 
of  our  promises.  Through  the  courtesy  and  assistance  generously  afforded  by  the  residents  of 
these  counties,  we  have  been  enabled  to  trace  out  and  put  on  record  the  greater  portion  of  the 
important  events  that  have  transpired  in  Alexander,  Union  and  Pulaski  Counties,  up  to  the 
present  time.  And  we  feel  assured  that  all  thoughtful  people  in  these  counties,  now  and  in 
future,  will  recognize  and  appreciate  the  importance  of  the  work  and  its  permanent  value. 

A  dry  statement  of  events  has,  as  far  as  possible,  been  avoided,  and  incidents  and  anecdotes 
have  been  interwoven  with  facts  and  statistics,  forming  a  narrative  at  once  instructive  and  inter- 
esting. 

We  are  indebted  to  John  Grear,  Esq.,  for  the  history  of  Jonesboro  and  Precinct;  to  Dr.  J 
H.  Sanborn  for  the  history  of  Anna  and  Precinct;  to  Dr.  N.  R.  Casey  for  the  history  of  Mound 
City  and  Precinct,  and  to  George  W.  Endicott,  Esq.,  of  Villa  Ridge,  for  his  chapter  on  Agricult- 
ure and  Horticulture  of  Pulaski  County.  Also  to  H.  C.  Bradsby,  Esq.,  for  his  very  able  and 
exhaustive  history  of  Cairo,  as  well  as  the  general  history  of  the  respective  counties,  and  to  the 
many  citizens  who  furnished  our  corps  of  writers  with  material  aid  in  the  compilation  of  the 
facts  embodied  in  the  work. 

September,  1883  Tjjg  PUBLISHERS. 


s 

§0 


^ 


00 


852588 


CONTENTS 


PART  I. 


CAIRO. 

PAGE. 

<^'>I  AFTER  I.— City  of  Cairo— The  First  Steamboat  on  West- 
ern Waters — Great  Eartliquake  of  l.'^ll — First  Settle- 
ment of  Cairo— Hoibrook's  Schemes — A  Mushroom 
(  ity  and  the  Bubble  Bursted — Early  Navigation  of 
Western  Rivers — Capt.  Henry  M.  Shreve,  etc.,  etc 11 

CHAPTER  II.— Crash  of  the  Cairo  City  and  Canal  Company 
in  1841 — The  Exodus  of  the  People— Pastimes  and 
Social  Life  of  Those  Who  Remain — Judge  Cilbert — 
How  a  Riot  was  Suppressed — Bryan  Shaunessy — 
Gradual  Growth  of  the  Town  Again — The  Record 
Brought  Down  to  1.^53,  etc .SI 

(  HAPTER  III.— Cairo  Platted— First  Sale  of  Lots— The 
Foundation  of  a  City  Laid — Beginning  of  Work  on 
the  Central  Railroad — S.  Staats  Taylor^City  Gov- 
ernment Organized  and  Who  Were  Its  Officers — In- 
crease of  Population — The  War — Soldiers  in  Cairo — 
Battle  of  Belmont— Waif  of  the  Battle-tield— "  Old 
Rube  ■' — Killing  of  Spencer — Overflow  of  '58 — Wash 
Graham  and  Gen.  (irant  —  A  Few  More  Practical 
Jokes,  etc.,  etc 47 

(  HAPTER  IV.— Decidedly  a  Cairo  chapter— Cairo  and  Its 
Different  Bodies,  Politic  and  Corporate — Cairo  City 
and  Bank  of  Cairo — Cairo  and  Canal  Company — Cairo 
,  <  ity  Property— Trustees  of  the  Cairo  Trust  Property 
— The  Illinois  Exporting  Company — D.  B.  Holbrook 
—Justin  Butterfield— Recapitulation,  etc.,  etc 67 

(HAI'TER  v.— The  Levees— How  the  Territorial  Legisla- 
ture by  Law  Placed  the  Natural  Town  Site  Above 
C»verflows — First  Efibrts  at  Constructing  Levees — 
Engineer's  Reports  on  the  Same — Estimated  Height 
and  Costs — The  Floods — The  City  Overflowed — Great 
Disaster,  the  f'ause  and  Its  Effects— The  Levees  are 
Reconstructed  and  They  Defy  the  Greatest  Waters 
Ever  Known 90 

CHAPTER  VI.— The  Press— Its  Power  as  the  Great  Civil- 
izer  of  the  Age — Cairo's  First  Editorial  Ventures- 
Birth  and  Death  of  Newspapers  Innumerable — The 
Bohemians — Who  They  Were  and  What  They  Did — 
"  Bull  Run  "  Russell—  Harrell,  Willett,  Faxon  and 
Others  —  Some  of  the  "Intelligent  Compositors" — 
Quantum  Sufficit 126 

(  HAPTER  VII.— Societies:  Literary,  Social  and  Benevolent 
—The  Ideal  League — Lyceimi — Masonic  Fraternity — 
Its  Great  Antiquity— Odd  Fellowship  — The  Cairo 
Casino — Other  Societies,  etc ISS 


CHAPTER  VIII.— Cairo— Her  Condition -in  1861-187S-1>;.><:; 
— The  Ebb  and  Flow  of  Business  and  Population  — 
War  and  the  Panic  Which  Followed — Steamboat.s— 
Mark  Twain— Pilots — .Some  Steamboat  Disasters— And 
a  Joke  or  Two  by  Way  of  Illustration,  etc W' 

CHAPTER  IX.— The  Church  History— St.  Patrick's— Ger- 
man Lutheran  —  Presbyterian  —  Baptist —  Methodist 
and  Other  Dcnomination.s — The  Different  Pastors — 
Their  Flocks,  Temples,  the  City  .Schools,  etc.,  etc 17G 

CHAPTER  X.— Railroads  — The  Illinois  Central —Cairo 
Short  Line — The  Iron  Mountain — Cairo  &  St.  Louis — 
The  Wabash— Mobile  &  Ohio— Texas  A  St.  Louis— The 
Great  Jackson  Route — Roads  Being  Built,  etc.,  etc....  19.5 

CHAPTER  XL— Conclusion— The  Future  of  the  City  Con- 
sidered—Her Present  Status  and  Growth — Present 
City  Officials,  etc 217 


PART  II. 

UNION  COUNTY. 

CHAPTER  I.— Intro<luction — Geology— Importance  of  Edu- 
cating the  People  on  This  Subject — The  Limestone 
District  of  Illinois — Keononiical  (ieology  of  Union, 
Alexander  and  Pulaski  Counties — Medical  .Sprjngs, 
Building  Material,  Soil,  etc.— Wonderful  Wealth  of 
Nature's  Bounties — Topograi)hy  and  Cliniato  of  this 
Region,  etc "^'i-? 

CHAPTER  11.— Pre-historic  Races— The  Mound-Buildera— 
Fire  Worshipers — Relics  of  these  Unknown  People — 
Mounds,  Workshops  and  Battle-<i rounds  in  Ufllijn, 
Alexander  and  Pulaski  Counties — Visits  of  Noxious 
Insects— History  Thereof,  etc 244 

CHAPTER  III.— The  Daring  Discoveries  and  Settlements 
by  the  French— The  Catholic  Missionaries— Discov- 
ery of  the  Mississippi  River — .Some  Corrections  in 
History  — A  World's  Wonderful  Drama  of  Nearly 
Three  Hundred  Years'  Duration,  etc 2.5'i 

CHAPTER  IV.— 1  ollowing  the  Footsteps  of  the  First  Pio- 
neers— Who  They  Were— How  They  Came— Where  They 
Stopped— From  179.J  to  1810— Cordeling— Bear  Fight- 
First  Schools,  Preachers,  and  the  Kind  of  People  they 
Were— John  Orammar,  the  Father  of  Illinois  State- 
Craft,  etc '^^* 

CHAPTER  v.— Settlers  in  Union,  Alexander  and  Pulaski— 
Lean  Venison  and  Fat  Bear— Primitive  Furniture— A 


CONTENTS. 


Pioneer  Boy  .Sees  a  Plastered  House — ilow  People 
F'orted — Their  Dress  and  Amusements — Witchcraft, 
Wizards,  etc. — No  Law  nor  Church— Sports,  etc. — fiov. 
Dougherty — Philip  Shaver  and  the  Cache  Massacre — 
Families  in  the  Order  they  I'ame,  etc.,  etc '21o 

CHAPTER  VI.— Organization  of  Union  County— Act  of 
Legislature  Forming  It — The  County  Seal — Commis- 
sioners' Court — Abner  Field — A  List  of  Families — Cen- 
sus from  1820  to  ISSO— Dr.  Brooks— The  Flood  of  1844— 
Willard  Family — Col.  Henry  L.  Webb  —  Railroads — 
Schools — Moralizing,  etc.,  etc 285 

CHAPTER  VIL— The  Bench  and  Bar— Gov.  Reynolds- 
Early  Courts— First  Term  and  Officers— Daniel  P.  Cook 
— Census  of  1818— County  Officers  to  Date— Abner  and 
Alexander  P.  Field— Winsted  Davie — Young  and  Mc- 
Roberts — Visiting  and  Resident  Lawyers — Grand  .Juries 
Punched — Ilunsaker's  Letter — War  Between  Jouesboro 
and  Anna— County  Vote,  etc.,  etc 301 

CHAPTER  VIIL— The  Pre-ss- Finley  and  Evans,  and  the 
First  Newspaper — "  Union  County  Democrat'' — John 
Grear— The  "Record,"  "Herald,"  and  Other  Publica- 
tions—How the  Telegraph  Produced  Drought— Dr.  S.  S. 
Conden— Present  Publishers  and  Their  Able  Papers,  etc.  318 

CHAPTER  IX.— Military  History— "Wars  and  Rumors  of 
Wars" — And  Some  of  the  (lenuine  Article — Revolu- 
tionary .Soldiers— Mexican  War- Our  Late  Civil  Strife 
—Union  County's  Honorable  Part  In  It— The  One  Hun- 
dred and  Ninth  Regiment — Its  Vindication  in  History, 
etc.,  etc 82.3 

CHAPTER  X.— Agriculture— Similarity  of  Union  County 
to  the  Blue  Grass  Region  of  Kentucky— Adaptability  to 
Stock-Raising  —  Fair  Associations  —  Horticulture  —  Its 
Rise,  Wonderful  Progress  and  Present  Condition— Va- 
rieties of  Fruit  and  Their  Culture— The  Fruit  Garden 
of  the  West— Vegetables — Shipments— Statistics,  etc., 
etc 334 

CHAPTER  XL— Jonesboro  Precinct  —  Topography  and 
Physical  Features— Coming  of  the  Whites— Pioneer 
Hardships— Early  Industries— Roads,  Bridges,  Taverns, 
etc.— Religious  and  Educational— State  of  .Society- 
Progress  and  Improvements,  etc- 3.52 

CHAPTER  XII.— City  of  Jonesboro— .Selected  and  Sur- 
veyed as  the  County  Seat— Its  Healthy  Location— Early 
Citizens— Some  who  Remained  and  Some  who  Went 
Away— First  Sale  of  Lots— Growth  of  the  Town— Mer- 
chants and  Business  Men— Town  Incorporated — .Schools 
and  (  hurches — .Secret  .Societies,  etc 351 

CHAPTER  XIII.- Anna  Precinct— (ieneral  Description 
and  Topography— Early  .Settlement— The  Cold  Year- 
Organization  of  Precinct— Incident  of  the  Telegraph- 
Schools  and  Churches— Bee-Keei)ing,  Dairying,  etc.— 
Crop  Statistics— A  Hail-Storm,  etc 363 

CHAPTER  XIV.— City  of  Anna— The  Laying-out  of  a 
Town— Its  Name— Early  Growth  and  Progress— Incor- 
porated—Fires— Notable  Events— Societies,  Schools  and 
Churches— Manufactures— Organized  as  a  City— Hos- 
pital for  the  Insane- City  Finances 371 


CHAPTER  XV.— South  Pass,  or  Cobden  Precinct— Its  To- 
pographical and  Physical  Features— Early  Settlement  of 
White  Peoi)le— Where  They  Came  From  and  a  Record 
of  Their  Work— tJrowth  and  Development  of  the  Pre- 
cinct-Richard Cobden— The  Village:  What  it  Was, 
What  It  Is,  and  What  It  Will  Be— Schools,  Churches, 
etc.,  etc 392 

CHAPTER  XVI.  —  Dongola  Precinct  —  Surface,  Timber, 
Water-Courses,  Products,  etc.  —  Settlement — Pioneer 
Trials  and  Industries — Schools  and  Churches — Mills— 
Dongola  Village :  Its  Growth  and  Development— Leav- 
enworth—What  He  Did  for  the  Town,  etc 402 

CHAPTER  XVIL— Ridge  or  Alto  Pass  Precinct— Surface 
Features,  Boundaries,  and  Timber  Grown — Occupation 
of  the  Whites — Pioneer  Trials — Industries,  Improve- 
ments, etc.— The  Knob — Churches  and  Schools— Vil- 
lages, etc.,  etc 410 

CHAPTER  XVIIL— Rich  Precinct— Description,  Bounda- 
ries and  Surface  Features — .Settlement  of  the  Whites— 
W^here  They  Came  From  and  Where  They  Located— 
Lick  Creek  Post  office— .Schools  and  Churches — Caves, 
Sulphur  !*pring3,  etc 414 

CHAPTER  XIX.— Stokes  Precinct— Topography  and  Boun- 
daries—  Coming  of  the  Pioneers — Their  Trials  and 
Tribulations— Mills  and  Other  Improvements — Mount 
Pleasant  laid  out  as  a  Village  —  Churches,  Schools, 
etc.,  etc 41'J 

CHAPTER  XX. — Saratoga  Precinct — Its  Formation  and  De- 
scription— Topography,  Physical  Features,  etc. — Early 
.Settlement— The  Wild  Man  of  the  Woods— Mills- 
Saratoga  Village  —Sulphur  .Springs — An  Incident — 
Roads  and  Bridges — Schools,  Churches,  etc.,  etc 42-5 

CHAPTER  XXL— Mill  Creek  Precinct— Its  Natural  Char- 
acteristics and  Resources— One  of  the  Earliest  Settle- 
ments in  the  County — Pioneer  Improvements — Schools 
and  Churches— Villages,  etc 431 

CHAPTER  XXII.— Meisenheimer  Precinct  — Its  Surface 
Features,  Timber,  .Streams  and  Boundaries — Settle- 
ment of  the  Whites — Early  Struggles  of  the  Pioneers 
— Schools  and  Schoolhouses— ^Religious — Mills,  Roads, 
etc..  etc 433 

CHAPTER  XXIIL— Preston  and  Union  Precincts— Their 
Geographical  and  Topographical  Features  —  Early 
Pioneers — Where  They  Came  From,  and  How  They 
Lived — The  Aldridges  and  Other  "  Fir.st  Families" — 
Swamps,  Bullfrogs  and  Mosquitoes — Schools,  Churches, 
etc V i^i-'> 


PART   III. 

ALEXANDER   COUNTY. 

CHAPTER  I.— First  .'Settlement  of  the  County— The  Way 
the  People  Lived — Growth  and  Progress — Geology  and 
Soils — The  Mound-Builders — Trinity — America — Col. 
Rector,  Webb  and  Others — Wilkinsonville — Caledonia 
— Unity — Many  Interesting  ICveuts— etc.,  etc.,  etc 44-5 


CONTENTS. 


PAGE. 

(  IIAITKK  II.— The  Act  Creating  the  County— How  it  was 
Named — Some  Interesting  Extracts  from  Pr.  Alexan- 
der's Letters — The  rroniinent  People — Col.  John  S. 
Hacker — Official  Doings  of  the  Courts — County  Officers 
in  Succession — Different  Removals  of  the  County  .Seat 
—  Treacher  Wofford — etc.,  etc 4.54 

CHAl'TER  III. — Census  of  Alexander  County  Considered — 
The  Kind  of  I'eople  They  Were — How  They  Improved 
the  (  ountry — Who  Built  the  Mills — Dogs  Versus  Sheep 
— Periods  of  Comparative  Immigration — Acts  of  the 
Legislature  Efi'ectiug  the  County,  etc.,  etc 46fi 

CHAPTER  IV.— War  Record— 1812-15— Blaek  Hawk  War- 
Some  Account  of  It,  and  ('apt.  Webb's  Company- 
Roster  of  the  Company— War  witli  Mexico — Our  Late 
Civil  War  —  Politics  —  Representatives  and  Other 
Officials — John  Q.  Ilarniou— State  Senators,  etc. — Some 
Slanders  Upon  the  People  Repelled,  etc.,  etc 472 

CHAPTER  V. — Bench  and  Bar  of  Alexander  County — State 
Judiciary  and  Early  Laws  Concerning  It — Judicial 
Courts — How  Formed — First  Justices  of  the  Supreme 
Court — Who  Came  and  Practiced  Law — Judges  Mul- 
key.  Baker,  I.  N.  Haynie,  Allen,  Green,  Wall,  Yocura, 
Linegar  and  Lansden — Local  Lawyers,  etc 479 

CHAPTER  VL— The  Precincts  of  Alexander  County— To- 
pography and  Boundaries — Their  Early  Settlement — 
Dangers  and  Hardships  of  the  Pioneers — Villages — 
Schools  and  Churches — Modern  Improvements,  etc 491 


PAET    IV. 

PULASKI    COUNTY. 

CHAPTER  I. — Geology,  Meteorology,  Topography,  Timber, 
Water,  Soil,  etc. — Great  Fertility  of  the  Land — Its  Ag- 
ricultural and  Ilortieultural  Advantages — What  Far- 
mers are  Learning — Address  of  I'arker  Earle,  etc 503 

CAAITER  II.  — Organization  of  the  County— The  Facts 
That  Led  to  (he  Same — Act  of  the  Legislature — Estab- 
lishment of  the  <'ourts— the  First  Officers — Kemoval 
of  the  Seat  of  Justice  -The  Census — Precinct  Organi- 
zation— Lawyers — Schools,  Churches,  etc.,  etc.,  etc 510 

CHAPTER  III. — About  Early  Leading  Citizens — tJeorge 
Cloud,  H.  M.  Smith,  Capt.  Riddle,  Justus  Post— Pulaski 
in  War— Black  Hawk,  Mexican  and  the  Late  Civil 
War— History  of  the  .Men  Who  Took  Part— A.  C. 
Bartlesou,  Price,  Athertou — Mr.  Clemson's  Farm,  etc., 
etc 5i;i 

(  IIAPTER  IV.— Agriculture— Early  Mode  of  Farming  in 
Pulaski  County—  Incidents— Stock-Kaising— Present 
Improvements-  Horticulture—  First  Attempts  at 
Fruit-*  irowing— Apples— Tree  Pe<ldlers— Strawberries 
—Peaches — Grapes  and  Wine— Other  Fruits,  Vegeta- 
ble.?, etc.,  etc .520 

CHAPTER  v.— Mound  <ity— Early  History  of  the  Place— 
The  Indian  Massacre— Joseph  Tibbs  and  Some  of  the 


Early  Citizens  of  "  The  Mounds  "—Gen.  Rawlings— 
First  Sale  of  Ix)ts— The  Emporium  Company— How 
It  Flourished  and  Then  Played  Out— The  Marine 
Ways— Government  Hospital— The  National  Ceme- 
lery.  etc 535 

CHAPTEl!  VL— Mound  (ity— Decline  and  Death  of  the 
Emporium  Company— Overflow  of  the  Ohio  in  1858— 
Flood  of  1802, 1S<>7,  1882  and  ISS.'i— leveeing  the  City 
—Bonds  for  the  Payment  of  the  Same— .\  Few  Mur- 
ders, With  a  Taste  of  Lynch  Law,  etc .553 

CHAPTER  VIL— Mound  City— It  Becomes  the  County  Seat 
County  Officials— Jud,ge  Mansfield— Lawyers— F.  M. 
Kawlings  and  Others— Jo  Tibbs  Again— The  Press— 
"  National  Emporium  "—Other  Papers— First  Physi- 
cians of  the  City— Schools— Teachers  and  Their  Sala- 
ries, etc.,  etc .561 

CHAPTER  VIII.— Mound  City— Its  (  hurch  History— Catho- 
lic Church— The  Methodists,  etc.— Colored  Churches- 
Fires  and  the  Losses  whicli  Hesultcd— Manufactories 
— .Secret  and  Benevolent  Societies— Something  of  the 
Mercantile  Business— Population  of  the  City— Its 
Officers  and  Government,  etc 570 

CHAPTER  IX.— Election  Precincts  Aside  from  Mound  City 
—Boundaries,  Topographical  Features,  etc.— Advent 
of  the  White  People  and  their  .Settlements— How  they 
Lived—  Progress  of  Churches  and    .Schools— Growth 


and  Development  of  the  County.. 


PAET  V. 


BIOGRAPHICAL  SKETCHES. 

Cairo ; :: 

Cairo- Extra 56a 

Union  County.— Anna  Precinct .57 

.Tone.sboro  Precinct 92 

Cobden  Precinct 118 

Alto  Pass  Precinct 153 

Dongola  Precinct 170 

Meisenheimer  Precinct 182 

Stokes  Precinct -jgo 

Saratoga  Precinct 197 

Rich  I'recinct 204 

Union   Precinct 209 

Preston  Precinct ojl 

Mill  Creek  Precinct 212 

Anna  and  Jonesboro — Extra 214 

Alexander  County.- Elco  Precinct 218 

Thebes  Precinct 228 

East  Cape  Girardeau  Precinct 2;!.5 

II n ity  Precinct 239 

Clear  Creek  Precinct 243 

Santa  F'e   i'recinct 247 

r.eeeh  }£idge  Precinct 249 

Lake  Millikin  Precinct 2.50 


CONTENTS. 


PAGE. 

PiT.AS^Ki  County.— Mound  City  Precinct 251 

Villa  Ridge  Precinct 282 

Grand  CJiain  Precinct 298 

Ohio  Precinct ^^^ 

Wetaug  Precinct ^^^ 

UUin   Precinct 326 

Pulaski  Precinct 3^1 

Burkville  Precinct 3** 


PORTRAITS. 

Arter,  I) ^^3 

Casey,  N.  B 547 

Casper,  P.  H 241 

Clemson.  .1.  Y 9^ 

Pavie,  Winstead 223 

Endicott,  G.  \V • 529 

Finch,  E.  H  151 

Oaunt,  J.  W 259 

(irear,  John ■'''^^ 


PAGE. 

Hambleton,  W.  L 565 

Hess,  John 1^' 

Hight,  W.  A 511 

Hileman,  Jacob ^31 

Hoftner,C ^ ^3 

Hughes,  M.  L ;;••: 277 

Leavenworth,  E ^1 

Mason,  B.  F ; 295 

Meyer,  G.  F 205 

Miller,  Caleb ^l-^ 

Morris,  James  S ^''^ 

Paruily,  John -157 

Ros»,  B.  F -103 

Saflbrd,  A.  B 25 

Sanborn,  J.  H 385 

Scarsdale,  F.  E 169 

Spencer,  H.  H US 

Stokes,  M 421 

Toler,  J.  M 79 

Wardner,  H 367 

Weaver,  John 475 

Williams,  A.  G 493 


^^^ 


HISTOEY  OF 


EXANDER,  UNION  AND  PULASKI 


COUNTIES. 


PART  I. 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO, 


BY    H.    C.    BRADSBY. 


CHAPTER    I. 


CITY  OF  CAIRO— THE  FIRST  STEAMBOAT  ON  WESTERN  AVATERS— GREAT  EARTHQUAKE  OF  1811- 

FIRST  SETTLEMENT  OF  CAIRO— HOLBROOK'S  SCHEMES— A  MUSHROOM  CITY  AND 

THE    BUBBLE    BURSTEU  — EARLY    NAVIGATION    OF    WESTERN 

M.  SHREVE,   ETC.,  ETC. 


RIVERS— CAPT.    HENRY 

"And  leaves  the  world  to  solitude  and  me." — Gray. 

THE  earliest  settlement  of  Cairo,  on  the 
promontory  of  land  formed  by  the  junc- 
tion of  the  Ohio  and  Mississippi  Rivers,  dates 
back  only  sixty-six  years  ago.  There  are 
persons  yet  living,  not  only  who  were  born 
then,  but  who  can  even  remember  events  of 
that  time  with  distinctness.  But  these  clear- 
headed old  people  are  nearly  all  gone,  and 
in  a  very  few  years  there  will  be  nothing  left 
us  but  the  traditions  of  1817,  unless  the  pres- 
ent opportunity  is  conserved,  and  the  facts 
placed  in  a  permanen.t  form  while  it  is  yet 
possible  to  obtain  them  from  those  who  not 
only  saw,  but  were  a  part  of  the  long-ago 
events  that  have  led  to  the  present  changed 
condition  of  affairs.  The  tooth  of  time  eats 
away  the  living  evidences  of  what  occurred 
more  than  fifty  years  ago  with  unerring 
swiftness. 

The  life  of  a  nation  or  city,  compared  to 
time,  is  but  a  breath,  although  it  may  sur- 
vive generations  and  centurie.'?,  and  how  in- 
conceivably brief,  then,  is  the  longest  space 
of  a  single  human  life. 


Man'rf  nature  is  such  that  he  is  deeply 
concerned  in  the  movements  of  those  who 
have  gone  before  him.  Whether  his  fore- 
fathers were  wise  or  foolish,  he  wants  to 
learn  all  he  can  about  them;  to  study  their 
customs,  habits  and  general  movements. 
And  while  those  are  yet  left  who  were  par- 
ticipants in  the  earliest  gathering  of  a  peo- 
ple in  any  particular  locality,  it  is  easy 
enough  to  sit  down  by  the  fireside  and  listen 
to  the  story  of  the  father«;  of  their  trials, 
their  triumphs,  their  failiues,  their  ways  of 
thought  and  their  genei'aj  actions;  but  in  a 
moment,  and  before  you  have  had  time  to  re- 
flect upon  the  loss,  they  are  all  gone,  and  the 
places  that  knew  them  so  well  will  know  them 
no  more  forever;  and  then  it  is  the  chronicler, 
who  puts  in  permanant  form  all  these  once 
supposed  trifling  details,  has  performed  an 
invaluable,  if  not  an  imperishable,  seivice. 
The  proper  study  of  mankind  is  man.  It  is 
the  one  inexhaustible  fountain  of  real  knowl- 
edge ;  and  the  "  man"  that  is  best  studied  is 
your  own  immediate  forefathers  or  predeces- 
sors.    To  learn    and   know  them   well  is  to 


13 


HISTORY  OF   CAIRO. 


know  all  you  can  learn  of  the  human  family. 
To  solve  the  complex  problem  of  the  human 
race  does  not  so  much  consist  in  trying  to 
study  all  the  living  and  the  dead,  as  in 
mastering,  in  ^^o  far  as  it  is  possible,  the 
chosen  few. 

Many  thousands  of  years  ago,  preparations 
first  began  to  be  made  for  a  habitation  for 
man  upon  the  very  spot  now  occupied  by  the 
city  of  Cairo.  The  uplift  of  the  rocks  that 
formed  the  first  dry  laTi  I  upon  the  continent 
in  and  about  the  Huron  region  had  pro- 
ceeded slowlv  \.\  their  southwesterly  direc- 
tion for  a  very  long  time.  This  was  then  a 
part  of  the  Gulf  of  Mexico,  and  it  was  slow 
and  very  gradual  the  uplift  went  on,  and  the 
waters  of  the  Gulf  receded  south  of  the  junc- 
tion of  the  two  rivers,  and  the  Lower  Missis- 
sippi River  began  to  form.  From  Freeport 
southward,  along  the  line  of  the  Illinois  Cen- 
tral Railroad,  there  is  a  gi-adual  descent  to 
the  valley  of  the  Big  Muddy  River,  in  Jack- 
son County,  where  the  level  of  the  railroad 
grade  is  only  fifty-five  feet  above  that  of  the 
river  at  Cairo.  At  that  point,  there  is  a  sud- 
den rise  of  nearly  seven  hundred  feet,  the 
only  true  mountain  elevation  in  Illinois.  It 
runs  entirely  across  the  southei'u  portion  of 
the  State,  finally  crosses  the  Ohio,  in  the 
vicinity  of  Shawneetown,  and  then  is  [lost 
beneath  the  coal  measures  of  Kentucky. 
The  forces  beneath  the  surface  made  this  up- 
lift, and  it  is  supposed  by  geologists  that 
this  must  have  taken  place  before  the  Gulf 
receded  below  the  present  junction  of  the 
rivers. 

Caii-o  stands  upon  an  alluviiun  and  drift  of 
about  thirty  feet  in  depth,  and  while  it  prob- 
ably was  many  centi:vfies  ingathering  here  so 
as  to  rise  above  the  face  of  the  waters,  yet  it 
has  been  here  a  comparatively  long  time,  as 
is  evidenced  by  the  immense  trees  of  oak, 
and    walnut,  and   many  others  that  do   not 


grow  in  swamps  or  grounds  that  more  than 
occasionally  ovei'flow,  and  beneath  these 
great  trees  that  have  braved  the  storms  of 
hundreds  of  years  has  been  found  the  re- 
mains, deep  in  the  soil,  of  other  great  forests 
that  had  preceded  the  one  found  here  by  the 
first  discoverers.  It  takes  the  geological 
seons  to  prepare  the  way  for  man's  coming, 
and  man  can  only  come  when  the  prepara- 
tions for  his  reception  are  complete. 

Mr.  Jacob  Klein,  the  brick-maker  of  Cairo, 
and  who  has  carried  on  this  business  success- 
fully the  past  nineteen  years,  determined 
three  years  ago  to  try  the  experiment  of  get- 
ting pure  water  by  digging.  He  has  sunk 
three  wells;  the  first  was  sixty-five  feet  deep 
where  it  struck  [a  heavy  bed  of  gravel  and 
promised  an  abundant  supply  of  water,  but 
the  very  dry  season  of  three  years  ago  his 
water  supply  was  short.  He  then  had  the 
second  well  sunk.  This  is  100  feet  deep, 
and,  like  the  first,  stopped  in  the  gravel. 
Not  still  satisfied,  Mr.  K.  contracted  for 
the  third  Well,  to  be  put  down  with  a  two 
and  a  half  inch  pipe.  The  contract  called 
for  a  well  300  feet  deep.  The  contractor 
went  down  206  feet  and  stopped,  and  then 
IMi'.  Klein  took  up  the  work  himself  and  car- 
ried it  to  218  feet,  when  he  struck  the  rock. 
A  bed  of  white  clay  was  encountered,  five  feet 
thick,  resting  upon  the  rock.  Here,  clearly, 
was  once  the  bed  of  the  river.  From  the  clay, 
which  is  213  feet  below  the  surface,  the  strata 
are  coarse  sand  and  seams  of  coarse  gravel 
until  the  alluvium  of  the  surface  is  reached. 
Mr.  Klein  reached  an  inexhaustible  supply  of 
pure,  soft  water,  which  stands  within  fifteen 
feet  of,  the  siu-f ace  at  all  seasons  of  the  year, 
I  and  for  all  pui'poses  is  as  fine  water  as  was 
I  ever  found.  It  is  described  to  be  as  soft  as 
!  rain  water  and  clear  and  cold,  and  is  never 
I  affected  by  the  stage  of  waters  in  ^the  river. 
It  never  flows  during  a   long  stage  of  high 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


13 


water,  as  do  the  shallow  wells  when  the  town 
begins  tx)  fill  with  sipe  water,  ^li-.  Klein  is 
satisfied  that  fron^ten  to  twenty  feet  farther 
do\^n,  which  will  pass  through  the  rock  he 
has  now  reached,  will  give  him  a  flowing 
artesian  well,  and  this  improvement  he  has 
in  contemplation  of  making  the  present  or 
next  year.  This  is  the  first  real  effort  ever 
made  here  to  get  pure  well  water,  and  has 
demonstrated*  the  fact  that  it  is  beneath  us, 
in  inexhaustible  quantities  and  of  the  very 
best  quality. 

Without  the  attention  being  specially 
called  to  the  fact,  there  are  very  few  people 
who  would!  suppose  that  the  white  man  had 
come  almost  in  what  is  a  subui'b  now  of 
Cairo,  and  built  his  fort  and  fought  the 
"  redskins  "  one  hundred  and  two  years  ago; 
yet  such  is  the  fact.  Fort  Jefferson  is  one  of 
the  favorite  picnic  i-esorts  of  the  people  of 
Cairo.  It  is  only  six  miles  below  here,  and 
across  on  the  Kentucky  shore.  To  the  gay 
party  starting  out  for  a  festival  day,  it  is  but 
little,  if  anything,  more  than  merely  cross- 
ing the  river  into  Kentucky  to  go  to  Fort 
Jefferson.  How  many  of  all  oui-  people,  es- 
pecially the  young,  know,  when  they  wander 
about  the  place,  that  they  are  upon  historic 
ground?  Let  us  tell  them  something  of  its 
tragic  story,  and  when  they  next  stroll  about 
in  its  grateful  shades  and  resting  places,  let 
them  look  for  the  fast  fading  landmarks  of 
the  old  fort,  and  remember  that  Mrs.  Capt. 
Piggott  and  many  other  noble  souls  lie  buried 
there;  and  also  let  them  recall  the  heroic 
efforts  of  those,  not  only  who  died  that  ^we 
might  live,  but  of  those  who  so  heroically 
struggled  to  drive  back  the  red  fiends. 

This  fort  was  erected  by  George  Rogers 
Clark,  under  the  direction  of  Thomas  Jeffer- 
son, in  1781.  Jefferson  was  then  'Governor 
of  Virginia,  and,  being  advised  the  Spanish 
Crown  would  attempt  to  set  up  a  claim  to 


the  country  east  of  the  Mississippi  River, 
he  took  this  step  to  foil  the  design. 

Immediately  after  the  erection  of  the  fort, 
Clark  was  called  away  to  the  frontiers  of 
Kentucky,  but  was  succeeded  by  Capt.  J  ames 
Piggott. 

Immigration  to  the  fort  was  encouraged, 
and  several  families  settled  at  once  in  its 
vicinity,  and  for  a  living  proceeded  to  culti- 
vate the  soil.  For  a  short  time,  the  settle- 
ment flourished.  During  1781,  however,  the 
Chickasaw  and  Choctaw  Indians  became  ex- 
ceedingly incensed  at  the  encroachments  of 
the  whites  (their  consent  for  the  [erection  of 
the  fort  not  having  been  obtained),  and  they 
commenced  an  attack  upon  the  settlers  in  the 
neighboi'hood.  The  whole  number  of  war- 
riors belonging  to  these  tribes  at  that  time 
was  about  twelve  hundred,  including  the 
celebrated  Scotchman  Calbert,  whose  pos- 
terity figured  as  half-breeds.  As  soon  as  it 
was  decided  an  attack  would  be  made  upon 
the  fort  by  the  Indians,  a  trusty  messenger 
was  dispatched  to  the  Falls  of  the  Ohio  for 
further  supplies  of  ammunition  and  provisions. 

The  settlement  and  fort  were  in  great  dis- 
tress— at  the  point  of  starvation,  indeed — 
and  succor  could  not  be  obtained  short  of  the 
Falls  or  Kaskaskia. 

The  Indians  'approached  the  settlement  at 
fii'st  in  small  parties,  and  succeeded  in  kill- 
ing a  number  of  the  settlers  before  they 
could  be  moved  to  the  fort.  Half  the  people, 
both  in  the  fort  and  its  vicinity,  were  help- 
less from  sickness,  and  the  famine  was  so  dis- 
tressing that  it  is  said  pumpkins  were  eaten 
as  soon  as  the  blossoms  had  fallen  off  the 
vines.  The  Indians  continued  their  mui'der- 
ous  visits  in  squads  for  about  two  weeks  be- 
fore the  main  army  of  "  braves"  reached  the 
fort.  The  soldiers  aided  and  received  into 
the  fort  all  the  white  population  that  could 
be  moved. 


14 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


In  the  skirmishes  to  which  we  have  al- 
luded, a  white  man  was  taken  prisoner  by 
the  Indians,  who,  to  save  his  life,  exposed 
the  true  state  of  the  garrison.  The  infor- 
mation seemed  to  add  fury  to  the  passions  of 
the  savages. 

After  the  arrival  of  the  main  body  of  the 
savages,  under  Calbert,  the  fort  was  besieged 
three  days  and  nights.  Dvu-ing  this  time,  the 
suffering  and  misery  of  the  garrison  were  ex- 
t'-emely  great.  The  water  had  almost  given 
out;  the  river  was  falling  rapidly,  and  the 
water  in  the  wells  receded  with  the  river. 
The  supply  of  provisions  was  qiiite  exhausted, 
and  sickness  raged  to  such  an  extent  that  a 
veiy  large  number  could  not  be  moved  from 
their  beds.  The  wife  of  Capt.  Piggott  and 
several  others  died,  and  were  bui'ied  within 
the  walls  of  the  fort  while  the  savages  were 
besieging  the  outside.  It  seemed  reduced  to 
a  certainty,  at  this  junctui'e,  that,  unless  re- 
lief came  speedily,  the  garrison  would  fall 
into  the  hands'  of  the  Indians  and  be  mur- 
dered. 

The  white  prisoner  now  in  the  hands  of 
the  Indians  detailed  the  true  state  of  the 
fort  He  told  his  captors  that  more  than 
half  its  inmates  were  sick,  and  that  each  man 
had  not  more  than  three  rounds  of  ammuni- 
tion, and  that  the  garrison  was  quite  desti- 
tute of  water  and  provisions.  On  receiving 
this  information,  the  whole  Indian  army  re- 
tired about  two  miles  to  hold  a  council.  In 
a  few  hours,  Calbert  and  three  chiefs,  with 
a  flag  of  truce,  were  sent  back  to  the  fort. 

When  the  inmates  of  the  fort  discovered 
the  flag,  they  sent  out  Capt.  Piggott,  Mr. 
Owens  and  another  man,  to  meet  the  Indian 
delegation.  The  parley  was  conducted  under 
the  range  of  the  guns  of  the  garrison. 

Calbert  demanded  a  surrender  of  the  fort 
at  discretion,  urging  that  the  Indians  knew 
its  weak  condition,  and  that  an  unconditional 


surrender  might  save  much  bloodshed.  He 
further  said  that  he  had  sent  a  force  of  war- 
riors up  the  Ohio,  to  intercept  the  succor  for 
which  the  whites  had  sent  a  messenger.  He 
gave  the  assurance  that  he  would  do  his  best 
to  save  the  lives  of  the  prisoners,  except  in 
the  case  of  a  few  whom  the  Indians  had 
sworn  to  butcher.  He  gave  the  garrison  one 
hour  to  form  a  conclusion. 

The  delegates  from  the  whites  promised 
that  if  the  Indians  would  leave  the  country, 
the  inmates  of  the  fort  would  abandon  it  with 
all  haste.  Calbert'agreed  to  submit  this  prop- 
osition to  the  council,  and  was  at  the  point 
of  returning  when  a  Mr.  Music,  whose  fam- 
ily had  been  cruelly  murdered,  and  another 
man  at  the  fort,  fired  upon  him  and  wounded 
him  somewhat  severely, 

The  warriors  were  engaged  a  long  time  in 
council,  and,  by  almost  a  seeming  interposi- 
tion of  Providence,  the  long- wished- for  suc- 
cor arrived  during  the  time  in  safety  from 
the  "Falls."  The  Indians  had  struck  the 
river  too  high  up,  and  thereby  the  boat  es- 
caped The  provisions  and  men  were  hui-ried 
into  the  iort,  a  new  spirit  seemed  to  possess 
every  one,  and  active  exertions  were  at  once 
made  to  place  the  fort  in  position  for  a  stcut 
resistance.  The  sick  and  the  small  children 
were  placed  beyond  the  reach  of  harm,  and 
all  the  women  and  the  'children  of  any  con- 
siderable size  were  instructed  in  the  art  of 
defense. 

Shortly  after  dark,  the  Indians  attempted 
to  steal  on  the  fort  and  capture  it;  but  in 
this  being  most  decidedly  frustrated,  they 
assaulted  the  garrison  and  tried  to  storm  it. 
The  cannon  had  been  placed  in  proper  posi- 
tion to  rake  the  walls,  so  when  the  "  red- 
skins "  mounted  the  ramparts,  the  ^cannon 
swept  them  off  in  heaps.  The  Indians,  with 
hideous  yells,  and  loud  and  savage  demon- 
strations, kept  up  a  streaming  fii'e  from  their 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


15 


rifles  upon  the  garrison,  which,  however,  did 
but  little  execution.  In  this  manner  the  bat- 
tle raged  for  hours;  but  at  last  the  Indians 
were  forced  to  fly  fi-om  the  deadly  cannon  of 
the  fort  to  save  themselves  from  destruction. 
Calbert  and  other  chiefs  rallied  them  again, 
but  the  same  result  followed;  they  were 
again  forced  to  fly,  and  all  further  efforts  to 
rally  them  proved  ineffectual. 

The  whites  were  in  constant  fear  that  the 
fort  would  be  fired  by  the  Indians.  This, 
indeed,  was  their  gi-eatest  fear.  At  one  time 
a  huge  savage,  painted  for  the  occasion, 
gained  the  top  of  one  of  the  block-hoiises  and 
was  applying  fire  to  the  roof,  when  he  was 
shot  dead  by  a  white  soldier.  His  body  fell 
on  the  outside  of  the  wall,  and  was  can-ied 
off  by  his  comi-ades. 

The  Indians,  satisfied  they  could  not  capt- 
ure the  fort,  abandoned  the  siege  entirely, 
and,  securing  their  dead  and  wounded,  left 
the  country.  A  large  number  of  them  had 
been  killed  and  wounded,  while  none  of  the 
whites  had  been  killed,  and  only  a  few 
wounded.  The  whites  were  'rejoiced  at  this 
turn  in  affairs,  as  the  number  of  Indians, 
and  their  ability  to  continue  the  siege,  were 
calculated  to  terrify  them. 

AVith  all  convenient  speed,  the  fort  was 
abandoned.  Many  of  the  soldiers,  together 
with  settlers  who  had  taken  refuge  in  the 
fort,  moved  to  Kaskaskia.  They  proved  the 
first  considerable  acquisition  of  American 
population  in  Illinois.  Since  then,  Fort  Jef- 
ferson has  remained  abandoned,  and  is  now 
but  marked  by  here  and  there  certain  shape- 
less moiuids  and  piles  of  debris  that  are  in- 
distinguishable unless  pointed  out  to  the 
stranger.  But  this  spot  will  ever  retain  a 
great  interest  to  Americans,  at  least  as  long 
as  the  struggles  and  privations  of  those  who 
pioneered  the  valley  of  the  Mississippi  retain 
a  place  in  the  memory  of  the  American  people. 


While  it  is  true  that  this  first  attempt  of  the 
white  men  to  make  a  habitation  and  a  home 
within  the  immediate  neighborhood  of  Cairo 
was  abandoned  and  the  people  dispersed,  the 
most  of  them  coming  to  Illinois  and  making 
their  homes  in  Kaskaskia,  it  was  not  wholly 
a  failure  in  behalf  of  civilization.  The  little 
band,  as  brave  and  true  heroes  as  ever  fought 
upon  the  immortal  fields  of  Thermopylae, 
had  accomplished  a  great  purpose — they  had 
withstood  the  murderous  midnight  attack  of 
the  bloody,  yelling  fiends  and  drove  them 
off.  They  taught  him  a  bloody  lesson,  yet 
that  is  the  only  school  a  savage  will  learn  in. 
This  siege  and  battle  were  the  first  great  step 
in  making  the  shores  of  these  rivers  habit- 
able, and  even  though  the  fort  was  dismantled 
and  abandoned,  it  is  quite  true  it  taught  the 
savage  to  respect  the  power  of  the  white 
man.  It  was  not  a  long  time  after  this  de- 
ciding battle  that  we  find  the  white  man  in 
his  flat-boats,  and  soon  in  his  keel-boats,  in  a 
small  way  commencing  to  carry  on  that  great 
commerce  that  has  since  so  filled  the  rivers, 
and  dotted  their  shores  with  the  pleasing  evi- 
dences of  civilization.  This  commerce  of 
the  flat-boat,  the  keel  boat  and  the  pirogue, 
continued  to  slowly  increase  and  perform  the 
scanty  commerce  of  the  day,  until  finally  the 
steamboat  ^  came,  bearing  upon  its  decks  the 
great  human  revolution,  that  stands  un- 
equaled  in  importance,  and  that  will  go  on 
in  its  gi-eat  effects  forevei'. 

In  1795,  William  Bird,  then  a  mere  child, 
in  company  with  his  father's  family,  landed 
at  the  confluence  of  the  Ohio  and  Mississippi 
Rivers.  This  family  remained  here  only  a 
short  time,  and  then  went  to  Cape  Girardeau, 
where  they  resided,  and  in  1817  William 
Bird  applied  at  the  land  office  in  Kaskaskia 
and  entered  the  land  mentioned  in  another 
part  of  this  chapter.  This  family  were  the 
first  white   people,  so  far  as    can  be  now  as- 


16 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


certained,  that  "ever  put  foot  upon  the    spot 
now  called  Cairo. 

December  18,  1811. — The  anniversary  of 
this  day  the  people  of  Cairo  and  its  vicinity 
should  never  forget.  It  was  the  coming  of 
the  first  steamboat  to  where  Cairo  now  is — 
the  New  Orleans,  Capt.  Roosevelt,  Command- 
ing. It  was  the  severest  day  of  the  great 
throes  of  the  New  Madrid  earthquake;  at  the 
same  time,  a  fiery  comet  was  rushing  athwart 
the  horizon. 

In  the  year  1809,  Robert  Fulton  and  Chan- 
cellor Livingston  had  commenced  their  im- 
mortal experiments  to  navigate  by  steam  the 
Hudson  River.  As  soon  as  this  experiment 
was  crowned  with  success,  they  turned  their 
eyes  toward  these  great  Western  water-ways. 
They  saw  that  here  was  the  greatest  inland 
sea  in  all  the  world,  but  did  they,  think  you, 
prolong  their  vision  'to  the  present  time,  and 
realize  a  tithe  of  the  possibilities  they  were 
giving  to  the  world  ?  They  unrolled  the  map 
of  this  continent,  and  they  sent  Capt.  Roose- 
velt to  Pittsburgh,  to  go  over  the  river  from 
there  to  New  Orleans,  and  report  whether  they 
could  be  navigated  or  not.  He  made  the  in- 
spection, and  his  favorable  report  resulted  in 
the  immediate  construction  of  the  steamer 
New  Orleans,  which  was  launched  in  Pitts- 
burgh in  December,   1811. 

Could  Capt.  Roosevelt  now  come  to  us  in 
his  natural  life,  and  call  the  good  people  of 
Cairo  together  and  relate  his  experiences  of 
the  day  he  passed  where  Cairo  now  stands, 
it  would  be  a  story  transcending,  in  thrilling 
interest,  anything  ever  listened  to  by  any  now 
living.  All  fiction  ever  conceived  by  busy 
brains  would  be  tame  by  the  side  of  his  truth- 
ful narrative.  His  boat  passed  out  of  the 
Ohio  River  and  into  the  Mississippi  River 
in  the  very  midst  of  that  most  remarkable 
convulsion  of  nature  ever  known — the  great 
New  Madrid  earthquake.     As  the  boat  came 


down  the  Ohio  River,  it  had  moored  opposite 
Yellow  Banks  to  coal,  this  having  been  pro- 
vided some  time  previously,  and,  while  load- 
ing this  on,  the  voyagers  were  approached  by 
the  squatters  of  the  neighborhood,  who  in- 
quired if  they  had  not  heard  strange  noises 
on  the  river  and  in  the  woods  in  the  course 
of  the  preceding  day,  and  perceived  the 
shores  shake,  insisting  they  had  repeatedly 
felt  the  earth  tremble.  The  weather  was  very 
hot;  the  air  misty,  still  and  dull,  and  though 
the  sun  was  visible,  like  an  immense  glowing 
ball  of  copper,  his  rays  hardly  shed  more 
than  a  mournful  twilight  on  the  surface  of 
the  water.  Evening  di'ew  nigh,  and  with 
it  some  indications  of  what  was  passing 
around  them  became  evident,  for  ever  and 
anon  they  heard  a  rushing  sound,  violent 
splash,  and  finally  saw  large  portions  of  the 
shore  tearing  away  from  the  land  and  laps- 
ing into  the  watery  abyss.  An  eye-witness 
says:  "  It  was  a  startling  scene — one  could 
have  heard  a  pin  drop  on  deck.  The  crew 
spoke  but  little;  they  noticed,  too,  that  the 
comet,  for  some  time  visible  in  the  heavens, 
had  suddenly  disappeared,  and  every  one  on 
board  was  thunderstruck." 

The  next  day  the  portentous  signs  of  this 
terrible  natural  convulsion  increased.  The 
trees  that  remained  on  shore  were  seen  wav- 
ing and  nodding  without  a  wind.  The  voy- 
agers had  no  choice  but  to  pursue  their  course 
down  the  stream,  as  all  day  this  violence 
seemed  only  to  increase.  They  had  usually 
brought  to,  under  the  shore,  but  at  all  points 
they  saw  the  high  banks  disappearing,  over- 
whelming everything  near  or  under  them, 
particularly  |many  of  the  siuall  craft  that 
were  in  use  in  those  days,  carrying  down  to 
death  many  and  ;many  who  had  thus  gone  to 
shore  in  the  hope  of  escaping.  A  large  island 
in  mid-channel,  which  had  been  selected 
by  the   pilot  as  the   better   alternative,   was 


HISTORY    OF   CAIRO. 


17 


sought  for  in  vain,  having  totally  disap- 
peared, and  thousands  of  acres,  constituting 
the  surrounding  country,  were  found  to  have 
been  swallowed  up,  with  their  gigantic 
growths  of  forest  and  cane. 

Thus,  in  doubt  and  terror,  they  proceeded 
hour  after  hour  until  dark,  when  they 
found  a  small  island,  and  rounded  to,  moor- 
ing at  the  foot  of  it  Here  they  lay,  keeping 
watch  on  deck  dm'ing  the  long  night,  listen- 
ing  to  the  sound  of  waters  which  roared  and 
whirled  wildly  around  them,  hearing,  also, 
from  time  to  time,  the  rushing  earth  slide 
from  the  shore,  and  the  commotion  of  the 
falling  mass  as  it  became  engulfed  in  the 
river.  Thus,  this  boat,  during  the  intensity 
of  the  earthquake,  was  moored  almost  in 
sight  of  Cairo;  practically,  it  was  at  Cairo 
during  the  worst  of  the  thi-ee  worst  nights. 

Yet  the  day  that  succeeded  this  awful  night 
brought  no  solace  in  its  dawn.  Shock  fol- 
lowed shock,  a  dense  black  cloud  of  vapor 
overshadowed  the  land,  through  which  no  sun- 
beam found  its  way  to  cheer  the  desponding 
heart  of  man.  It  seems  incredible  to  us  that 
the  bed  of  the  river  could  be  so  agitated  as  to 
lash  the  waters  into  yeasty  foam,  until  the 
foam  would  gather  in  great  bodies,  said  to 
be  larger  than  floiir  barrels,  and  float  away. 
Again,  it  is  still  more  incredible  to  be  told 
that  the  waters  of  the  two  rivers  were  turned 
back  upon  themselves  in  swift  streams,  but 
these,  and  much  more,  are  well-established 
facts.  It  is  impossible  now  to  depict  all  the 
wonderful  phenomena  of  this  world's  won- 
der. There  were  wave  motions,  and  perpen- 
dicular motions  of  the  earth's  surface,  and 
there  were,  judging  from  eftects,  as  well  as 
testimony  of  those  who  witnessed  it,  sudden 
risings  and  bursting  of  the  earth's  crust,  from 
whence  would  shoot  into  the  air  many  feet 
jets  of  water,  sand  and  black  shale. 

Just  below  New  Madrid,  a  flat-boat  belong- 


ing to  Eichard  Stump  was  swamped,  and  six 
men  were  drowned.    Large  trees  disappeared 
under  the  ground,  or  were  cast  with  fright- 
ful violence    into   the   river.     At   times  the 
waters  of  the  river  were   seen  to  rise  like  a 
wall  in  the  middle  of   the  stream,  and  then 
suddenly  rolling  back,  would  beat    against 
either  bank  with  terrific  force.    Boats  of  con- 
siderable size  were  "  high  and  dry"  upon  the 
shores  of  the  river.     Frequently  a  loud  roar- 
ing and  hissing  were  heard,  like  the  escape 
of  steam  from  a  boiler.    The  air  was  impreg- 
nated with  sulphurous  effluvium,  and  a  taste 
of  sulphur  was  observed  in  the  water  of  the 
river   and   the   neighboring   springs.      Each 
shock  was  accompanied  by  what  seemed  to  be 
the  reports  of  heavy  artillery.     A  man  who 
was  on  the  river  in  a  boat  at  the  time  of  one 
of  the  shocks  declared  that  he  saw  the  mighty 
Mississippi    cut  in    twain,  while  the   waters 
poured  down  a  vast  chasm  into  the  bowels  of 
the  earth.     A   moment  more  and  the  chasm 
was  tilled,  but  the  boat  which  contained  this 
witness    was    crushed    in    the    tumultuous 
effort  of  the  flood  to  regain  its  former  level. 
The  town  of  New  Madrid,  that  had  stood  upon 
a  blufif  fifteen  or  twenty  feet  above  the  high- 
est water,  sank   so  low,  that  the  next  rise  of 
the  water  covered  it  to  the  depth  of  five  feet. 
So   far  as  can  now  be  ascertained,  but  one 
person  has  put  upon  record  his  observations 
who  saw  it  upon  land.     This  was  Mr.  Bring- 
•ier,  an  engineer,  who  related  what  he  saw 
to  Sir  Charles  Lyell,  in  1846.     This  account 
represents   that   he   was  on   horseback  near 
New   Madrid,    when   some   of   the    severest 
shocks  occurred,  and  that,  as  the  waves  ad- 
vanced, he   saw  the   trees   bend    down,   and 
often,  the  instant  afterward,  when  in  the  act 
of  recovering  their  position,  meet  the  boughs 
of  other  trees  similarly  inclined,  so  as  to  be- 
come    interlocked,    being      prevented   from 
rio-hting  themselves  again.    The  transit  of  the 


18 


HISTORY  OF   CAIRO. 


waves  through  the  woods  was  marked  by  the 
crashing  noise  of  countless  branches,  first 
heard  on  one  side  and  then  the  other;  at  the 
same  time,  powerful  jets  of  water,  mixed 
with  sand,  loam,  and  bituminous  shale,  were 
cast  up  with  such  impetuosity  that  both 
horse  and  rider  might  have  perished  had  the 
swelling  and  upheaving  ground  happened  to 
burst  immediately  beneath  them.  Some  of 
the  shocks  were  perpendicular,  while  others, 
much  more  desolating,  were  horizontal,  or 
moved  along  like  great  waves;  and  where  the 
principal  fountains  of  mud  and  water  were 
throwD  up,  circular  cavities,  called  "sink 
holes,"  were  formed.  One  of  the  lakes  thus 
formed  is  over  sixty  miles  long  and  from 
three  to  twenty  miles  wide,  and  in  places 
fifty  to  one  hundred  feet  deep.  In  sailing 
over  the  sui'face  of  this  lake,  one  is  struck 
with  astonishment  at  beholding  the  gigantic 
trees  of  the  forest  standing  partially  exposed 
amid  the  waste  of  waters,  like  gaunt,  mysteri- 
ous monsters;  but  this  mystery  is  still  in- 
creased on  casting  the  eye  into  the  depths, 
to  witness  cane-brakes  covering  its  bottom, 
over  which  a  mammoth  species  of  tortoise  is 
sometimes  seen  dragging  its  slow  length 
along,  while  millions  of  fish  sport  through 
the  aquatic  thickets  — the  whole  constituting 
one  of  the  remarkable  features  of  American 
scenery. 

In  that  part  of  the  country  that  borders 
upon  what  is  called  the  "sunk  country" — that 
is,  depressions  upon  which  lakesdidnot  form 
— all  the  trees  prioi:  to  the  date  of  the'great 
earthquake  are  dead.  Their  leafless,  barkless, 
and  finally  branchless  bodies  stood  for  many 
years  as  noticeable  objects  and  monuments  of 
the  earth's  agitation,  that  was  to  that  terrific 
extent  as  to  break  them  and  wholly  loosen 
from  them  the  supporting  soil. 

As  before  stated,  the  severest  shocks  were 
the  first  three  days,  but  they  lasted  for  thi-ee 


months.  In  many  sections,  the  people  dis- 
covered the  opening  seams  ran  generally  in 
a  parallel  course,  and  they  took  advantage  of 
this  by  felling  trees  at  right  angles,  and  in 
severe  shocks  even  the  children  learned  to 
cling  upon  these,  and  thus  many  were  saved. 

Were  we  wrong  in  stating  that  the  coming 
of  the  first  steamboat  to  Cairo  was  a  most 
memorable  event? 

Such,  indeed,  faintly  described,  were  some 
of  the  smToundings  amid  which  the  steamer 
New  Orleans  rode  out  of  the  troubled  waters 
of  the  Ohio  and  into  the  yet  worse  troubled 
waters  of  the  Mississippi  Siver.  It  was 
natiu'e's  grandest  exhibition.  It  was  the 
coming  of  the  first  steamboat  in  such  awful 
surroundings  that  made  such  a  strange  meet- 
ing  of  the  excited  energies  of  nature  and  a 
human  thought — a  silent  thought  of  man's 
brain  fashioned  into  a  steam  engine,  propel- 
ling a  boat  by  this  new  idea  upon  the  West- 
ern waters!  What  grandeur,  and  awful  force 
and  terror  in  the  one,  and,  compared  to  it 
how  feeble  and  insignificant  the  human  prod- 
uct! How  one,  in  its  terrific  grandeur,  could 
change  the  whole  face  of  our  country  in  a 
moment,  and  make  the  feeble  steamboat  ap- 
pear as  insignificant  as  the  cork  upon  the 
storm-tossed  ocean.  A  strange  meeting  of 
the  two — those  two  things  in  the  world  which 
are  so  misread,  and  have  been  so  long  mis- 
understood by  men!  When  nature  puts  on 
her  suit  of  riot  and  force  and  begins  the 
play  of  those  fantastic  tricks,  men's  souls 
are  affrighted,  and  they  fall  upon  their  knees 
— rthose,  often,  who  never  did  so  before — and 
their  feeble  voices  of  supplication  would  ap- 
pease the  storm  or  stop  the  earth's  throes. 
The  unusual  display  of  the  forces  of  nature 
appal  men,  and  they  worship  what  they  con- 
ceive to  be  irresistible  power.  Hence,  a 
country  of  earthquakes,  tornadoes,  cyclones 
and  storms  is   very   religious,  and   generally 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


19 


full  of  superstition.  A  couDtry  where  lurks 
danger  and  perils  upon  every  hand  unseen — 
dangers  that  accumulate  like  the  horrors  of 
the  nightmare — will  produce  in  the  human 
mind  little  else  than  superstition  and  quak- 
ing fears;  the  horrible  di'ead  ingulfs  them 
like  a  living  hell,  till  the  very  soul  responds 
to  the  hideous  surroundings.  Man  is  so  con- 
stituted, he  will  bow  down  and  worship  what 
he  fears,  especially  when  it  is  an  unseen,  re- 
sistless power,  displayed  in  such  appalling 
force  as  to  enfeeble  and  dwarf  his  intellect. 

The  ignorant  squatters  along  the  river — 
that  is,  some  of  them — had  only  known  that 
the  first  steamboat  and  the  great  eai'thquake 
had  come  here  together.  It  was  firmly  be- 
lieved that  it  was  this  flying  in  the  face  of 
God,  and  making  a  boat  run  with  "  bilin' 
water,"  that  caused  the  earthquake.  "  Pre- 
sumptuous man  had  boiled  the  water,  when, 
if  God  had  wanted  it  to  boil,  he  would  have 
so  made  it. "  People  had  navigated  the  river 
in  flat-boats,  keel-boats  and  canoes,  and  under 
these  the  glad  rivers  went  singing  to  the  sea. 
But  Jman  must  come  with  his  fire  boat,  and 
the  earth  went  into  convulsions,  and  ten'or 
and  desolation  brooded  over  the  land.  God 
was  mysterious,  and  man  presumptuous. 
The  earth  indeed  trembled  when  He  frowned, 
and  man  must  learn  to  be  meek  and  humble; 
he  was  but  as  the  grass  that  was  mowed  down 
by  the  scythe — a  breath,  a  passing  vapor. 

But  even  the  less  ignorant  of  men — could 
he  comprehend  that  in  this  boat  was  a  great 
human  thought,  a  wonderful  invention  of 
man?  He  could  see  the  weak  hands  of  men 
guiding  and  controlling  it.  It's  a  mere  toy 
and  child's  play,  and  he  looks  at  it  a  moment 
in  childish  curiosity,  perhaps  smiles  ap- 
provingly upon  it.  It's  all  a  momentary 
pastime  with  him.  It's  too  feeble  to  do  more 
than  receive  a  passing  notice. 


Think  of  it!  The  thoughts  and  inventions 
of  genius  are  the  one  only  powerful  thing 
among  men — they  and  their  effects  alone 
endure  forever.  All  else  passes  away  and  is 
forgotten.  In  a  little  while,  only  the'  traces 
of  the  great'earthquake,  even,  can  be  found 
and  pointed  out,  while  the  steam  engine  has 
been  the  first,  the  great  power  that  has  done 
more  for  civilization  and  human  advancement 
in  the  past  fifty  years  than  all  else  combined. 
From  this  one  feeble,  imperfect  boat  has 
come  the  world's  Armada,  that  now  plows 
the  waves  of  every  river  and  sea,  until  the 
busy  world  upon  the  waters  and  its  wealth 
of  nations  almost  equals  that  upon  land.  It 
is  ever  present — ever  living — ever  growing 
in  might,  power  and  the  welfare  of  the  whole 
human  family.  The  earthquake,  in  its  efifects 
upon  mankind,  compared  to  the  engine,  was 
as  the  mote  to  a  world — a  di-op  of  water  com- 
pared to  the  ocean.  No  one  thing  in  the  his- 
tory of  the  human  family  has  so  contributed  to 
the  good  of  the  human  race,  as  the  engine  be- 
cause it  opened  the  way  and  made  possible  the 
sweeping  advance  of  the  past  three-quarters  of 
a  century.  Remember, since  the  engine  came, 
the  average  of  human  life  has  been  increased 
ten  years;  man  knows  now,  where  he  guessed 
and  feared  before.  In  no  century,  in  all  the 
world's  history,  has  civilization  made  such 
great  strides  forward  as  this.  It  made  possible 
all  those  comforts  and  necessities  we  now  en- 
joy. It  has  lightened  the  laboi's  and  burdens  of 
men,  and  given  the  mind  a  chance  to  work.  It 
has  cheapened  food,  clothing,  books  and  in- 
telligence itself,  and  is  gathering  momentum 
as  it  goes.  "Who  may  guess,  who  may  dream 
of  the  ^'et  benign  and  good  effects  to  man 
that  lay  hidden  in  that  gi-and  and  sublime 
thought  of  Fulton's  that  gave  us  the  power 
of  steam  ? 

Then,  indeed,  what  a   great,  what  an   im- 


20 


HISTOKY  OF  CAIRO. 


mortal  thing,  was  the  first  steamboat  upon 
the  Western  waters!  What  a  temporary 
thing  was  the  earthquake  that  received  it! 

Had  the  18th  day  of  December,  1811,  only 
been  signaled  by  any  one  of  the  three  events 
above  referred  to,  it  would  have  constituted 
it  a  memoi'able  day.  But  the  wonderful  com- 
bination of  events  makes  it  out  most  prom- 
inently in  the  calendar,  as  a  day  calling  up 
the  most  vivid  and  important  recollections  of 
any  other  in  the  country's  history.  Suitable 
monuments  along  the  river  from  Pittsburgh 
to  New  Orleans  should  be  placed  sacred  to 
the  memory  of  Capt.  Roosevelt. 

As  soon  as  the  steamboat  New  Orleans  had 
made  its  successful  trip  from  Pittsburgh  to 
New  Orleans  and  return,  the  commerce  of 
the  Western  waters  really  began  to  grow,  and 
although  it  was  six  years  after  this  success- 
ful steam  voyage  on  the  Ohio  before  a  steam- 
boat attempted  the  waters  of  the  Upper  Mis- 
sissippi as  far  as  St.  Louis,  yet  Cairo  soon 
began  to  attract  the  attention  of  river  and 
commercial  men  as  an  important  trans-ship- 
ping point. 

The  steamboat  Orleans  was  furnished 
with  a  propelling  wheel  at  the  stern  and  two 
masts;  for  Fulton  believed,  at  that  time,|,that 
the  occasional  use  of  sails  would  be  indis- 
pensable.   Her  capacity  was  a  hundred  tons. 

The  first  appearance  of  this  steamboat 
upon  Western  waters  produced,  as  the  reader 
may  suppose,  not  a  little  excitement  and 
admiration.  A  steamboat,  to  common  observ- 
ers, was  almost  as  great  a  wonder  as  a  flying 
angel  would  be  at  present.  The  banks  of 
the  river,  in  some  places,  were  thronged  with 
spectators,  gazing,  in  speechless  astonish- 
ment, at  the  puffing  and  smoking  phenome- 
non. The  average  speed  of  this  boat  was 
only  about  three  miles  per  hour.  Before  her 
ability  to  move  through  the  water  without 
the  aid  of  sails  or  oars  had  been  exemplified, 


comparatively  few  persons  believed  she  could 
possibly  be  made  to  answer  any  purpose  of 
real  utility.  In  fact,  she  had  made  several 
voyages  before  the  general  prejudice  began 
to  subside,  and  for  some  months  many  of  the 
river  merchants  preferred  the  old  mode  of 
transportation  with  all  its  risks,  delays  and 
extra  expense,  rather  than  make  use  of  such 
a  contrivance  as  a  steamboat,  which,  to  their 
apprehensions,  appeared  too  marvelous  and 
miraculous  for  the  business  of  every-dav  life. 
How  slow  are  the  masses  of  mankind  to 
adopt  improvements,  even  when  they  appear 
to  be  most  obvious  and  unquestionable! 

The  second  steamboat  of  the  West  wars  a 
diminutive  vessel  called  the  Comet.  She  was 
rated  at  twenty-five  tons.  Daniel  D.  Smith 
was  the  owner  and  D.  French  the  builder  of 
this  boat.  Her  machinery  was  on  a  plan  for 
which  French  had  obtained  a  patent  in  1809. 
She    went  to    Louisville    in   the   summer  of 

1813,  and  descended  to  New  Orleans  in  the 
spring  of  1814  She  afterward  made  two 
voyages  to  Natchez,  and  was  then  sold,  taken 
to  pieces,  and  the  engine  was  put  up  in  a 
cotton  factory. 

The  Vesuvius  was  the  next  boat  in  the 
record.  She  was  built  by  Fulton  in  Pitts- 
burgh, for  a  company,  the  members  of  which 
resided  in  New  York,  Philadelphia  and  New 
Orleans.  She  was  under  Capt.  Frank  Ogden, 
and  went  to  New  Orleans  in  the  spring  of 

1814.  From  New  Orleans,  she  started  for 
Louisville  in  July  of  the  same  year,  but  was 
grounded  on  a  bar,  seven  hundred  miles  up 
the  river,  where  she  remained  until  the  3d 
of  December  following,  when,  being  floated 
off  by  the  tide,  she  returned  to  New  Or- 
leans. In  1815-16,  she  made  trips,  for  sev- 
eral months,  from  New  Orleans  to  Natchez, 
under  the  command  of  Capt.  Clement. 
This  gentleman  was  succeeded  by  Capt, 
John  De  Hart,  and   while   approaching  New 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


21 


Orleans  with  a  valuable  cargo  on  board,  she 
took  fire  and  burned  to  the  water's  edge. 
After  being  submerged  several  months,  the 
hull  was  raised  and  refitted.  She  was  after- 
ward in  the  Louisville  trade,  and  condemned 
in  1819. 

The  Enterprise  was  the  next  boat  in  the 
West.  She  was  built  at  Brownsville,  Penn., 
by  D.  French,  under  his  patent,  and  was 
owned  by  several  residents  of  that  place. 
This  was  a  small  boat  of  seventy-five  tons. 
She  made  two  voyages  to  Louisville  in  1814, 
under  the  command  of  Capt.  J.  Gregg.  On 
the  1st  of  December  in  the  same  year,  she  con- 
veyed a  cai'go  of  ordnance  stores  from  Pitts- 
burgh to  New  Orleans.  While  at  the  last- 
named  port,  she  was  pressed  into  seiwice  by 
Gen.  Jackson.  When  engaged  in  the  public 
service,  she  was  eminently  useful  in  trans- 
porting troops,  arms,  ammunition  and  stores 
to  the  seat  of  war.  She  left  New  Orleans  for 
Pittsburgh  on  the  6th  of  May,  1815,  and 
reached  Louisville  after  a  passage  of  twenty- 
five  days,  thus  completing  the  fii'st  steam- 
boat voyage  ever  made  from  New  Orleans  to 
Louisville.  But  from  the  fact  that  the 
waters  were  very  high,  and  she  run  all  the 
cut-offs  and  over  fields,  etc.,  this  experi- 
mental trip  was  not  satisfactory,  the  public 
being  still  in  doubt  whether  a  steamboat 
could  ascend  the  Mississippi  when  the  river 
was  confined  within  its  banks,  and  the  cur- 
rent as  rapid  as  it  generally  is. 

Such  was  the  state  of  public  opinion  when 
the  steamboat  Washington  commenced  her 
career.  This  vessel,  the  fifth  in  the  cata- 
logue of  Western  steamboats,  was  constructed 
under  the  personal  superintendence  and 
direction  of  Capt.  Henry  M.  Shreve.  The 
hull  was  built  at  Wheeling,  Va.,  and  the 
engines  were  made  at  Brownsville,  Penn. 
The  entire  construction  of  the  boat  couiprised 
various    innovations,  which  were 


suggested 


by  the  ingenuity  and  experience  of  Capt. 
Shreve.  The  Washington  was  the  first  "two 
decker"  on  the  Western  waters.  The  cabin 
was  placed  between  the  decks.  It  had 
been  the  general  practice  for  steamboats  to 
carry  their  engines  in  the  hold;  in  this  par- 
ticular Capt.  Shreve  made  a  new  arrange- 
ment, by  placing  the  boiler  of  the  Washing- 
ton on  deck,  and  this  plan  was  such  an  ob- 
vious improvement  that  all  the  steamboats 
on  the  waters  retain  it  to  the  present  day. 
The  engines  constructed  under  Fulton's  pat- 
ent had  upright  and  stationary  cylinders;  in 
French's  engines  vibrating  cylinders  were 
used.  Shreve  caused  the  cylinders  of  the 
Washington  to  be  placed  in  a  horizontal 
position,  and  gave  the  vibrations  to  the  pit- 
man, Fulton  and  French  used  single  low- 
pressure  engines;  Shreve  employed  a  double 
high-pressure  engine,  with  cranks  at  right 
angles,  and  this  was  the  first  engine  of  that 
kind  ever  used  on  the  Western  waters.  Mr. 
David  Prentice  had  previously  used  cam 
wheels  for  working  the  valves  of  the  cylinder. 
Capt  Shi'evo  added  his  great  invention  of 
the  cam  cut-off,  with  flues  to  the  boilers,  by 
which  three-fifths  of  the  fuel  was  saved. 
These  impr  vements  originated  with  Capt, 
Shreve,  but  although  they  have  been  in  uni- 
versal use  for  a  long  [time,  their  origin  has 
not  been  properly  credited  to  the  rightful 
inventor. 

On  the  24th  day  of  September,  1816,  the 
Washington  passed  over  the  Falls  of  Ohio  on 
her  first  trip  to  New  Orleans,  and  returned  to 
Louisville  November  following.  While  at 
New  Orleans,  the  ingenuity  of  her  construc- 
tion excited  the  admiration  of  the  most  in- 
telligent citizens  of  that  place.  Edward 
Livingston,  after  a  critical  examination  of 
the  boat  and  her  machinery,  remarked  to  Capt. 
Shi'eve,  "You  deserve  well  of  your  country, 
young  man;    but   we    [referring    to  Fulton 


32 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


and  Livingston's  monopoly]  shall  be  com- 
pelled to  beat  you  [in  the  courts]  if  we  can." 

An  accumulation  of  ice  in  the  Ohio  com- 
pelled the  Washington  to  remain  at  the 
Falls  until  March  12, 1817.  On  that  day  she 
commenced  her  second  trip  to  New  Orleans. 
She  accomplished  this  trip  and  returned  to 
Shippingsport,  at  the  foot  of  the  Falls,  in 
forty-one  days.  The  ascending  voyage  was 
made  in  twenty-five  days,  and  from  this  voy- 
age all  historians  date  the  commencement  of 
steam  navigation  in  the  Mississippi  Valley. 
It  was  now  practically  demonstrated,  to  the 
satisfaction  of  the  public  in  general,  that 
steamboats  could  ascend  this  river  in  less 
than  one-fourth  the  time  which  the  bai'ges 
and  keel  boats  had  required  for  the  same 
purpose.  This  feat  of  the  Washington  pro- 
duced almost  as  much  popular  excitement 
and  exultation  in  that  region  as  the  battle  of 
New  Orleans.  The  citizens  of  Louisville 
gave  a  public  dinner  to  Capt.  Shreve,  at 
which  he  predicted  the  time  would  come 
when  the  trip  from  New  Orleans  to  Louis- 
ville would  be  made  in  ten  days.  Although 
this  may  have  been  regarded  as  a  boastful 
declaration  at  that  time,  the  prediction  has 
been  more  than  fulfilled;  for  as  early  as 
1853,  the  trip  was  made  in  four  days  and 
nine  hours. 

After  that  memorable  voyage  of  the  Wash- 
ington, all  doubts  and  prejudices  in  reference 
to  steam  navigation  were  removed.  Shipyards 
began  to  be  established  in  every  convenient  lo- 
cality, and  the  business  of  steamboat  build- 
ing was  vigorously  prosecuted.  But  a  new 
obstacle  now  presented  itself,  which  for  a 
time  threatened  to  give  an  effectual  check 
to  the  spirit  of  enterprise  and  progression 
which  had  just  been  developed.  We  refer  to 
the  claims  made  by  Fulton  and  Livingston 
to  the  exclusive  right  of  steam  navigation  on 
the  rivers  of  the  United  States.      This  claim 


being  resisted  by  Capt.  Shreve,  the  Washing- 
ton was  attached  at  New  Orleans,  and  taken 
possession  of  by  the  Sheriff.  When  the  case 
came  for  adjudication  before  the  District 
Court  of  Louisiana,  that  tribunal  promptly 
negatived  the  exclusive  privileges  claimed 
by  Livingston  and  Fulton,  which  were  decided 
to  be  unconstitutional.  The  monopoly  claims 
of  L.  and  F.  were  finally  withdrawn  in  1819, 
and  the  last  restraint  on  the  steamboat 
navigation  of  the  Western  rivers  was  thus 
removed,  leaving  AVestern  enterprise  and 
energy  full  liberty  to  carry  on  the  great  work 
of  improvement.  This  work  has  been  so 
progressive,  that  at  one  time  no  less  than  800 
steamboats  were  in  operation  on  the  Ohio  and 
Mississippi  Rivers;  and  here  this  mode  of 
navigation  has  been  carried  on  to  a  degree 
of  perfection  unrivaled  in  any  other  part  of 
the  world. 

In  the  year  1818,  William  Bird,  now  de- 
ceased, entered  the  extreme  point  of  land  on 
the  peninsula  formed  by  the  junction  of  the 
two  rivers,  and  known  in  the  Congressional 
Survey  as  the  southeast  quarter  of  Section 
25,  and  all  of  Fractional  Section  36,  the  two 
tracts  aggi'egating  about  three  hundred  and 
sixty  acres;  but  for  some  years  the  land  lay 
unimproved  and  neglected.  From  this 
ownership  by  Mr.  Bird,  the  locality  took  the 
name  of  Bird's  Point,  by  which  name  it  was 
designated  for  nearly  twenty  years. 

Shortly  after  Bird's  entry,  a  company  was 
formed,  at  the  head  of  which  was  a  man 
named  Comegys,  and  apparently  in  good 
faith  set  about  the  work  of  building  a  city 
here  that  should  anticipate  the  wants  of 
men  and  commerce  for  all  time  to  come. 
They  obtained  a  charter  for  that  purpose, 
under  the  name  and  style  of  the  "City  and 
Bank  Company  of  Cairo."  This  company 
foresaw  the  Illinois  Central  Eailroad,  and 
here,  so  far  as  the  facts  can  now  be  gathered, 


HISTOKY  OF  CAIRO. 


23 


was  the  first  tangible  idea  of  this  great  rail- 
road put  forth  to  the  world.  There  was  no 
Chicago  then  to  build  a  road  to;  there  was 
little  or  nothing  in  the  central  or  northern 
portion  of  the  State  demanding  highway 
privileges  and  commercial  rights,  and  yet 
the  idea  was  formulated  that,  in  the  course  of 
time,  was  worked  out  to  h  most  successful  issue. 
The  particulars  of  this  corporation,  and  its 
struggles  and  its  end,  are  given  in  another 
chapter.  Sufficient  to  say  here,  that  the  com- 
pany ceased  to  exist,  and  had  left  untouched 
the  great  old  forest  trees  that  covered  the 
town  site  when  first  discovered.  This  first 
failure  had  hardly  attracted  any  public  at- 
tention to  Cairo.  The  majority  who  had 
come  to  know  the  country  believed  that  a 
city  would  arise  somewhere  here  on  the  pen- 
insula, but  they  were  mostly  convinced  that 
it  must  be  built  back  upon  the  hills,  and  not 
upon  the  point  that  all  could  see  was  subject 
to  frequent  inundations.  Henry  L.  Webb 
and  a  few  others,  therefore,  had  started,  as 
far  back  as  1817,  the  town  of  Trinity,  at  the 
mouth  of  Cache  River,  six  miles  above  Cairo, 
on  the  Ohio  River.  This  had  grown  to  be  a 
steamboat  landing,  and  in  very  early  times 
the  place  could  boast  a  boat  store,  a  tavern,  a 
bar  and  a  billiard  soloon,  but  for  ten  years 
after  this  first  abortive  attempt  to  settle, 
"  the  smoke  of  no  adventurer's  hovel  gave 
gloom  to  Cairo's  canopy,"  and  the  unbroken 
silence  remained  with  the  "  neck  of  the 
woods,"  where  the  future  Cairo  was  to  be. 

In  1828,  John  and  Thompson  Bird,  the 
sons  of  William  Bird,  made  the  first  improve- 
ment here.  They  selected  the  spot  a  few 
hundred 'feet  south  of  the  present  Halliday 
House,  and,  bringing  their  slaves  over  from 
Missouri,  threw  up  a  sufficient  embankment 
to  protect  a  building  which  they  erected 
about  twenty-five  by  thirty-five  feet  in 
dimensions,    and    in  a    short  time  after  the^ 


erected  another  building,  between  this  and 
the  river,  which  was  about  twenty  feet 
square,  and  was  placed  on  piles,  as  a  security 
against  the  water.  The  first  building  was  a 
tavern,  and  the  latter  a  store,  and  for  several 
years  it  was  only  the  chance  flat- boatman  that 
circumstances  compelled  to  land  here  and 
get  a  few  supplies  for  his  crew  that  fur- 
nished customers  to  these  Alexander  Selkirks. 
Bacon,  whisky  and  flour  were  the  only  com- 
modities wanted  by  any  of  the  customers  of 
those  days.  The  next  season  after  the  Birds 
had  taken  possession,  a  wood-chopper  put  up 
a  shanty  near  their  imjuovement,  and  in  this 
he  lived  and  chopped  wood,  and  piled  it  on 
the  bank,  waiting  for  some  boat  to  come 
along  and  want  it.  The  wood-chopper  made 
a  very  little  impression  on  the  big  trees 
around  him,  and  the  Birds  had  only  a  small 
spot  cleared  and  cleaned  off,  so  as  to  have  a 
little  breathing  room,  as  well  as  a  place  to 
receive  and  pass  out  the  goods  they  handled. 
In  1831,  only  about  five  acres  had  been  cut 
away,  and  this  lay  in  a  narrow  strip  along 
the  banks  of  the  Ohio,  and  extended  no 
fui'ther  north  than  to  about  where  is  now 
Second  street.  Until  1835,  Trinity  continued 
to  be  the  commanding  and  promising  point. 
In  this  year,  Messrs.  Breese,  Swanwick, 
Baker,  Gilbert  and  others  began  to  give  the 
point  their  open  attention,  and  they  entered 
several  thousand  acres  of  land,  including  all 
that  portion  between  the  two  rivers  up  to 
and  beyond  Cache  River.  They  had  in  view 
the  future  possibilities  of  the  place  as  a  point 
for  a  city,  but  having  secvu'ed  the  land,  mat- 
ters remained  quiet  for  some  time.  The  next 
step  taken  was  on  the  IGth  day  of  January, 
1830,  when  a  charter  was  granted  a  com- 
pany, by  the  Illinois  Legislature,  to  build 
the  Illinois  Central  Railroad. 

February   27,  1837.   the  State   of  Illinois 
passed  the  General  Improvement  Bill — better 


24 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


known  to  the  immediate  posterity  of  these 
early  statesmen  as  the  General  Insanity  Bill 
— which  resulted  in  a  wide-spread  bankruptcy, 
and  seriously  threatened,  at  one  time,  to  ruin 
the  State  for  nearly  all  time  to  come.  This 
State  scheme  df  making  all  the  improvements 
swallowed  up  all  charters  that  had  been 
granted  to  private  parties,  and,  among  the 
others,  the  charter  for  the  construction  of  th6 
Illinois  Central  Railroad;  and,  as  a  specimen 
of  what  aji  insane  State  could  do,  the 
Legislatui'e  appropriated  (not  having  a  dol- 
lar, it  seems,  in  the  treasury)  $3,500,000  for 
the  building  of  this  last-named  road. 

On  the  4th  day  of  March,  1S37,  the  Cairo 
City  &  Canal  Company  was  chartered  by 
the  Illinois  Legislature.  This  was  the  final 
act  and  organization  that  led  to  founding  a 
city  here,  and  of  the  charter  and  laws  and  the 
official  acts  of  the  company,  and  their 
failures,  etc. ,  we  refer  the  reader  to  another 
chapter,  where  these  matters  are  given  in 
their  order  and  at  length. 

This  company  purchased,  on  credit,  vast 
bodies  of  land,  including  the  Bird  tract,  and 
pretty  much  all  lands  on  the  peninsula,  to 
and  beyond  Cache  River.  The  master-spirit 
of  the  enterprise,  as  soon  as  it  was  success- 
fully started,  was  Darius  B.  Holbrook,  of 
Boston.  The  company,  apparently,  cared 
not  what  price  it  agreed  to  pay  for  the  land; 
so  the  title  was  secured,  that  seemed  enough. 
The  daring,  and  doubtless  unscrupulous, 
leader  of  this  company,  even  in  those  days  of 
little  money  and  natural  economy,  seemed  to 
talk  and  think  of  money  in  sums  of  never 
less  than  millions.  He  expected  to  borrow 
immense  sums,  and  stake  these  over-bar- 
gained lands  as  the  security  for  the  vast 
amount  of  money  wherewith  to  improve  the 
lands  and  build  the  city;  and,  remarkable  as 
it  may  be,  did  so  borrow  money,  and  had 
arranged  for  it  to  be  advanced  by  the  million, 


sure  enough.  While  such  success  shows 
there  must  have  been  method  in  his  madness, 
yet  his  whole  idea,  after  he  had  secured  the 
money,  was  a  piece  of  madcap  folly.  When 
he  found  it  possible  to  find  other  men  to 
furnish  the  money  for  him  to  expend,  he  was 
at  once  seized  with  the  idea  that,  with  money 
enough,  he  could  build  a  great  city,  and  the 
whole  thing,  when  completed,  would  be  as 
much  of  a  private  piece  of  property  as  would  be 
a  large  factory,  steam  mill,  or,  for  that  matter, 
a  block  of  private  residences.  His  theory 
was  to  se]  1  no  property  about  the  town,  except 
the  bonds  and  stocks.  No  one  could  buy  a 
lot  and  build  upon  it  and  own  it.  You  could 
not  buy  an  inch  of  the  city  grounds;  but  you 
could  buy  the  bonds,  and,  upon  this  insane 
idea,  he  went  to  Europe  and  hypothecated 
the  city  bonds  to  the  amount  of  more  than 
$2,000,000,  and  returned  to  Cairo  with  the 
first  installment  of  this  money,  and  com- 
menced the  stupendous  work  upon  a  stupen- 
dous scale.  The  only  parallel  to  the  vast 
scheme  was  the  State's  craze  on  the  internal 
improvement  folly.  It  is  amusing  to  conjec- 
ture what  Holbrook  would  have  done  had  he 
been  backed  by  a  limitless  supply  of  money. 
He  evidently  would  have  left  some  wrecks 
here,  the  like  of  which  the  world  had  never 
seen,  while  his  cold,  selfish,  Yankee  instincts 
would  have  made  a  heavy  per  cent  of  all  the 
money  that  passed  through  his  hands  stick 
in  his  fingers.  Thus,  iu  the  end,  he  would 
have  grown  immensely  rich;  but  it  is  not  at 
all  certain  he  ever  would  have  erected  a  town 
here. 

When  he  roturned  from  Europe,  he  issued 
a  flaming  address — a  kind  of  open  letter  ad- 
dressed to  all  the  world — full  of  as  much 
fulsome  nonsense  and  after  the  style  of  Na- 
poleon's address  to  his  soldiers.  It  can  only 
be  guessed  why  he  issued  these  flaming  ad- 
dresses.    He  was  not  seeking  purchasers  for 


o^ 


/ 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


his  town  property,  for  he  had  nothing  to  sell, 
and  the  addresses  were  not  got  up  to  draw 
renters.  The  only  excuse  there  can  be  for 
their  existence  was  to  brag  on  himself,  and, 
in  the  common  slang,  "blow  his  own  horn." 

If  Cairo  has  had  any  parallel,  either  in  its 
commencement  or  in  much  that  has  occurred 
in  its  history  during  its  progress,  we  are  not 
aware  of  it.  Its  very  first  building  was  a 
tavern,  its  second  a  store,  and  then  came  the 
first  natural  growth — the  woodman' s  shanty. 
Then  the  next  effort  was  to  found  a  city  by 
starting  a  wild-cat  bank,  and  then  came  Hoi- 
brook  and  his  idea  of  a  city  and  the  inhabitants 
all  stockholders,  while  he  and  his  company 
were  the  real  owners.  But  Holbrook  was  at 
least  in  earnest  about  the  building  of  levees 
around  the  town,  to  keep  out  the  water.  As 
soon  as  be  secm-ed  the  money,  he  made  con- 
tracts with  S.  &  H.  Howard,  J.  H.  McMurry, 
Murphy  and  others,  and  these  contractors 
brought  on  laborei's  here  in  large  numbers. 
Many  of  these  brought  their  families,  and, 
in  hastily  constructed  shanties  and  huts,  they 
went  to  living,  "keeping  boarders,"  and  put- 
ting on  those  airs  which  belong  to  a  city  that 
has  grown  in  a  night.  Mr.  Walter  Falls  had 
a  store  on  a  boat,  moored  at  the  levee,  but  its 
capacity  for  furnishing  supplies  was  wholly 
inadequate,  and  passing  boats  were  called 
upon  to  help  fm'nish  the  people  with  some  of 
the  necessaries  of  life.  The  State  also  threw 
a  large  number  of  men  here  to  work  on  the 
Illinois  Central  Railroad,  so  that  the  demand 
for  flour,  bacon  and  coffee  was  still  increased 
to  that  extent  that  often  loaded  flat-boats 
would  stop  here,  and  sell  out  the  cargoes 
they  had  intended  for  farther  south. 

A  population  reaching  2.000  souls  were 
thus  thrown  suddeuly  together,  and  affairs 
had  much  the  appearance  of  one  of  those 
mining  towns  that  jump  into  existence  so 
suddenly,  and   sometimes  seem  to   jump  out 


quite  as  quickly.  But  the  people  believed 
everything  was  permanent;  they,  therefore, 
proceeded  in  due  form  to  organize  a  regular 
form  of  government,  and  appoint  the  neces- 
sary officers  to  carry  out  its  edicts.  As  Jus- 
tices of  the  Peace,  Mr.  Mai'sh  and  ]Mr.  Mc- 
Cord  were  chosen,  and  two  lawyers  decorated 
a  couple  of  shanty  doors  with  their  shin- 
gles; these  were  Mr.  Gass  (good  legal  name) 
and  a  JNIr.  McCrillis.  A  post  office  was  at 
once  established,  and  Squire  Marsh  was  ap- 
pointed Postmaster.  In  addition  to  being 
Postmaster,  he  had  to  receive  and  forward  all 
mails,  and  in  a  short  time  this  task  was 
worth  three  or  foiu*  times  the  whole  salary  of 
the  office.  A  Dr.  Cummings  hung  out  his 
banner  on  the  outer  walls,  and  called  the  sick 
and  afflicted  to  come  to  him  for  quinine  and 
calomel.  The  Catholic  element,  mindful  of 
their  religious  obligations,  set  about  the  prep- 
aration of  a  place  for  the  public  worship 
of  God.  As  they  were  limited  alike  in  means 
and  building  materials,  and  as  they  desired 
to  siibserve  only  a  temporary  purpose,  they 
satisfied  themselves  with  a  rough,  board- 
roofed  shanty  in  the  depths  of  the  convenient 
woods.  In  the  forks  of  one  of  the  trees  over- 
shadowing their  unpretending  chvu'ch  build- 
ing, they  suspended  a  bell,  and  this,  every 
Sunday  morning  and  evening,  rang  out 
through  the  deep  woods  and  over  the  face  of 
the  suiTounding  waters  the  call  of  "  Come, 
and  let  us  worship."  •  Such  was  the  first 
organization  of  municipal,  governmental  and 
church  matters  in  Cairo,  as  well  as  the  first 
lawA'ers.  and  the  first  doctor  and  the  first 
people.  Such  was  the  young  city  at  the 
commencemeut  of  the  year  1841.  At  this 
time,  the  firm  of  Bellews,  Hathaway  &  Gil- 
bert secui'ed  a  charter  for  iron  works,  and 
they  opened  their  establishment.  It  was  filled 
with  all  the  finest  machinery  that  could  be 
procured  in  England.   At  the  time,  it  ranked 


38 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


among  the  completest  establishments  of  its 
kind  in  the  United  States,  and  as  it  was  run 
to  its  fullest  capacity,  it  gave  Jabor  to  a  large 
force  of  men.  These  works  were  erected  about 
where  is  now  the  corner  of  Twelfth  street  and 
the  Ohio  levee.  Near  the  iron  works  were 
two  large  saw  mills,  of  great  capacity  each, 
and  they  were  busily  at  work  converting  the 
big  trees  of  the  adjacent  forest  into  lumber 
for  building  jDurposes  and  railroad  timbers. 
The  company  had  revived  the  old  City  Bank 
of  Cairo — a  bank  of  issue,  and,  by  law,  was 
temporarily  located  at  Kaskaskia,  and  this 
money  was  scattered  profusely  about  the 
town.  By  some  favored  arrangement,  the 
money  of  this  wild-cat  bank  was  taken  at  the 
Kaskaskia  Land  Office,  while  much  better 
money  from  Indiana  and  Ohio  was  refused 
there.  The  company  had  erected  a  long 
frame  hotel  at  the  point—  its  great  length, 
and  its  verandas  extending  fi'om  one  end  to 
the  other,  all  painted  white,  made  it  a  con- 
spicuous landmark  in  approaching  Cairo.  Its 
landlord  was  a  man  named  Jones,  and  in 
these  flush  times  it  was  at  all  times  thronged 
with  the  chief  men  of  the  town  and  travelers 
awaiting  the  arrival  and  departure  of  boats 
to  carry  them  on  their  intended  way.  A 
planing  mill  of  mammoth  proportions  was 
erected  near  the  corner  of  Eighth  and  Com- 
mercial streets.  Two  brick-yards,  each  sup- 
plied with  the  latest  patents  for  turning  out 
brick  by  the  many  thousand  daily,  from  diy, 
compressed  earth,  were  erected.  These  were 
then  located  in  what  is  called  Upper  Cairo. 
The  company  had  erected  a  dry  dock,  at  a 
cost  of  over  $35,000,  and  notwithstanding 
a  heavy  force  of  carpenters  were  erecting 
buildings  in  every  direction,  yet,  so  m-gent 
was  the  demand  for  houses  of  any  and  every 
kind,  that  Col.  Falls  had  moored  at  the  levee 
the  hull  of  the  steamer  Peru,  and  a  IVIr. 
Thompson    had   also   brought   the   steamer 


Asia  to  the  wharf  for  the  same  purpose.  In 
short,  the  entire  levee  soon  became  a  compact 
mass  of  wharf- boat  hotels,  stores,  residences, 
boarding-houses  and  business  places  of  every 
kind.  Here  was  a  little  busy  city  on  boats 
moored  to  the  shore.  Everything  and  every- 
where about  Cairo  bespoke  a_marvelous  thrift 
— all  was  at  high  pressure,  and  the  wonder 
of  the  age  had  come  at  last.  And  all  over 
the  land  the  contagion  spread.  Along  the 
rivers,  from  Pittsbui'g  and  St.  Louis  to  Xew 
Orleans  its  name  grew,  and  crossing  the 
Alleghanies  and  over  the  Eastern  States,  and, 
pushed  by  the  great  banking-house  of  Wright 
&  Co.,  of  London,  which  had  taken  over 
$2,000,000  in  the  Cairo  bonds,  and  who  were 
interested  in  advertising  it  all  over  Europe 
in  the  most  unqualified  and  extravagant 
terms,  until  apparently  the  large  portion  of 
the  civilized  world  looked,  at  least,  and  as- 
certained where  this  remarkable  young  city 
was  located  on  the  world's  map.  Never  was 
more  thorough,  elaborate  or  expensive  adver- 
tising done  for  any  place  than  that  for  Cairo. 
Flaming  prospective  views  of  the  city  in 
splendid  lithographs  were  hung  upon  the 
walls  of  steamboats,  hotels,  halls  and  other 
public  places,  and  to  all  these  were  added 
the  potency  of  a  great  young  State,  advertis- 
ing, by  its  legislative  acts,  this  great  South  Sea 
Bubble,  or,  as  Cairo  was  modestly  then 
called  in  the  proclamations  of  Holbrook,  the 
"  great  commercial  and  manufacturing  mart 
and  emporium." 

The  State  had  literally  bankrupted  itself, 
and  perforce  wound  up  its  Utopian  schemes. 
Its  folly  had  very  nearly  universally  bank- 
rupted the  entire  people.  The  whole  coun- 
try was  ripe  for  a  panic  and  contraction,  and 
the  probe  of  a  solid  specie  basis  pricked,  of 
course,  the  Cairo  bubble,  and  the  crash  of 
tumbling  air  castles,  and  the  haK-comj)leted 
real  ones,  carried  everything  with  them,  and 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


29 


left  the  Cairo  City  k  Canal  CompaBy 
biiried  beneath  a  mountain  of  debris.  We 
have  already  shown  the  inherent  defects 
there  were  in  the  Holbrook  idea  of  founding 
and  building  a  great  city,  but  in  a  sketch  by 
M.  B.  Harrell,  published  in  1864,  he  gives 
the  following  as  his  conclusions  as  to  the 
immediate  and  remote  causes  of  the  collapse 
of  the  town: 

"  There  are  many  causes,"  he  says,  "which 
contributed  to  the  downfall  of  Cairo,  but  the 
chief  cause  alleged  is  the  failui'e  of  the  house 
of  Wright  &  Co.,  London,  through  whom 
the  company  anticipated  continued  loans. 
But  this  is  by  no  means  the  sole  cause.  The 
suspension  of  work  on  the  Illinois  Central 
Railroad,  the  great  artery  of  trade  and  traffic 
upon  which  so  much  depended,  and  the  gen- 
eral abandonment  of  the  system  of  public 
works  inaugurated  by  the  State  in  1837, 
seemed  to  affect  the  piablic  at  large,  and 
so  seriously  enervated  the  enterprise  of  Cairo. 
And,  again,  it  is  directly  taught,  by  the  his- 
tory of  the  whole  country,  that  no  man,  set  of 
men  or  corporation,  can  create  and  success- 
fully conduct  such  a  monstrous  monopoly  as 
that  attempted  at  the  contiuence  of  these 
rivers  by  D.  B.  Holbrook  &  Co.  Even  per- 
sonal liberty  and  freedom  of  thought  were 
broucjht  in  direct  antafjconism  to  this  sinofu- 
lar  undertaking.  The  proje^it  amounted  to 
no  more  nor  less  than  an  attempt  on  the  part 
of  these  men  to  build,  own  and  direct  a  city 
at  the  mouth  of  the  Ohio  River.  At  no  price, 
in  no  shape  or  form,  could  a  resident  of  this 
city,  under  the  Holbrook  auspices,  become  a 
freeholder.  He  could  not  piirchase,  he  could 
not  lease,  or  otherwise  acquire  a  title  in  a 
single  foot  of  ground  within  the  proposed 
city.  If  he  occupied  a  dwelling,  this  com- 
pany owned  it,  and  consequently  he  lived  in 
it  only  during  the  pleasiu'e  of  this  *  Lord  of 
the  manor.'      If  ordered  to  vacate,  he  could 


not  quarter  himself  in  a  hotel  or  boarding- 
house  and  bid  his  persecutor  defiance,  for 
even  that  was  held  by  the  all- pervading 
power.  No  house  or  hotel  anywhere  within 
the  prescribed  limits  of  the  corporation  could 
be  erected  or  destroyed,  imless  Holbrook  ex- 
ercised the  power  of  controlling  the  manner 
and  means,  and  designating  the  time  and 
place  for  such  erection  or  destruction.  And 
his  powers,  or  what  is  the  same  thing, 
the  powers  of  the  Cairo  City  &  Canal  Com- 
pany, terminated  not  here.  A  coi'rupt  or  an 
imbecile  Legislature  conferi-ed  upon  that 
company  the  dangerous  authority  to  establish 
all  the  rules  and  regulations  for  the  govern- 
ment of  the  municipality  that  a  ^Ihyor  and  a 
Board  of  Councilmen,  selected  from  amongst 
the  people  might,  as  a  body,  establish.  It 
was  for  D.  B.  Holbrook,  or  what  is  the  same, 
the  Cairo  City  &  Canal  Company,  to  define 
offenses  and  prescribe  their  punishment;  to 
declare,  by  fixing  wharfage  at  a  rate  that 
would  amount  to  a  prohibition,  that  steam- 
boats should  cease  landing  at  this  delta:  to 
say  what  style  of  living  or  existing  should 
amount  to  vagabondage,  and  affix  the  penal- 
ty; to  declare  a  levy  of  taxes,  and  enforce  its 
collection;  and  to  expend  these  taxes  as  he 
elected,  whether  for  the  advantage  of  the 
piiblic  or  the  fiu-therauce  of  the  aims  of  his 
bantling,  the  Cairo  City  &  Canal  Company. 
In  short,  D.  B.  Holbrcjok,  as  the  Cairo  City 
&  Canal  Company,  at  a  late  hour  in  his 
career  here,  to  wit,  on  the  17th  February, 
1871,  were  clothed  by  the  then  sitting, 
thoughtless  or  villainous  Legislature  of 
Illinois,  with  all  the  powers  conferi-ed  upon 
the  Board  of  Aldei-men  of  the  City  of  Quincy, 
as  defined  between  the  First  and  Forty-fifth 
Sections  of  the  charter  of  that  city;  an<l  these 
grants  of  power  the  same  Legislature  con- 
firmed for  a  period  of  ten  years.  It  is,  per- 
haps true  that  he  never  exercised    any  legal 


30 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


despotism,  or  felt  any  disposition  to  exercise 
it,  but  the  mere  reposition  of  such  alarming 
privileges  in  one  man,  and  that  man  charged 
with  the  control  of  the  material  affairs  of  the 
city,  could  have  but  exercised  a  most  enervat- 
ing and  desti-uctive  influence  upon  the  proj- 
ect in  hand,  and  of  itself  ultimately  insured 
the  overthrow  and  destruction  of  the  enter- 
prise." 

From  1839  to  1841,  a  little  more  than  two 
years  of  Cairo's  first  glory,  there  ^  was  spent 
here  by  Holbrook's  company,  or  the  founda- 
tions laid  for  spending,  the  whole  of  the 
$1,250,000  that  he  had  arranged  for  in 
Europe,  and  when  to  this  is  added  the  actua  1 
expenditures  made  by  the  State,  and  the  pros  ■ 
pective  future  expenditure  of  the  $3,500,000 
by  the  State  on  the  Illinois  Central  road, 
the  wonder  is  ^there  were  not  more  than  two 
thousand  people  gathered  here.  Nearly  every 
one  of  these  must  have  been  needed  as  em- 
ployes in  the  vast  enterprises  commenced 
and  projected.  When  the  work  was  stopped 
by  Holbrook's  company,  the  two  levees  run- 
ning along  the  shores  of  eacli  river,  joining  at 
the  south  end  and  forming  a  levee,  were  com- 
pleted, and  were  of  a  height  and  strength  then 
determined  by  the  company' s  engineers  to  be 
amply  sufficient  for  protection  from  inunda- 
tion. The  base  of  the  levee  was  forty  feet,  a 
top  width  of  twelve  feet,  with  an  easy  descent 
on  the  outside  of  one  foot  perpendicularly  to 
seven  feet  horizontally.  In  1843,  Mr.  M.  A. 
Gilbert  constructed  the  cross  levee.  As  said 
above,  a  splendid  dry  dock  and  ship -yard 
had  been  established,  and,  under  the  super- 
intendence of  Capt.  Garrison,  a  well-known 
river  man,  the  steamer  Tennessee  Valley  had 
fceen  built,  and  the  iron  work  for  this  vessel 
had  been  turned  out  by  the  Cairo  Foundry 
Works,  and  thus  a  complete  vessel,  of  first- 
class  quality,  had  been  fitted  out  and  wholly 
completed  by  Cairo  skill  alone. 


As  the  existence  of  Cairo,  under  Holbrook's 
auspices,  ran  only  through  about  three  years, 
and  as  much  of  that  time  was  exhausted  in 
the  procurement  of  lands  and  means  to  im- 
prove them,  and  in  the  erection  of  saw  mills 
and  the  opening  of  quarries  and  brick-yards 
to  provide  building  materials,  but  few  build- 
ings were  erected,  whether  for  residence  or 
business  houses.  According  to  the  best  data 
to  be  obtained,  we  have  it  represented  that 
the  first  building  put  up  by  the  company  was 
the  additioE  to  the  Cairo  Hotel,  situated  on 
the  point;  then  the  Bellews  House  was  erected 
next;  then  the  machine  shops;  Holbrook's 
spacious  residence,  on  the  spot  now  occupied 
by  the  Halliday  House;  the  planing  mills, 
and  some  twenty  cottages.  These,  with  a 
number  of  shanties,  that  stood  at  the  mercy 
of  Holbrook,  as  his  order  to  tear  them  down 
at  any  time  would  have  been  like  the  edict  of 
a  tyrant,  were  the  sum  total  of  Cairo's  im- 
provements in  this  line  even  in  this  zenith  of 
her  glory.  But  a  great  many  others  were 
contemj)lated,  and  a  few  had  been  commenced 
before  the  crash  came.  An  immense  stone 
foundation,  near  what  is  now  the  corner  of 
Sixth  street  and  the  Ohio  levee,  was  nearly 
completed,  upon  which  was  to  be  erected  the 
"  Great  London  Warehouse, "  that  was  to 
eclipse,  in  point  of  size,  elegance  and  general 
finish,  the  monster  warehouse  of  like  name 
in  the  City  of  London. 

The  intentions  of  Holbrook's  company,  in 
regard  to  future  building  operations,  is  prob- 
ably truthfully  shadowed  forth  in  the  follow- 
ing extract  from  one  of  the  circulars  issued 
about  the  time  when  the  prospects  for  the 
town  were  the  fairest: 

"  The  demand  for  bailding  for  every  pur- 
pose and  every  description,  encourages  the 
company  to  use  all  the  labor  and  force  which 
can  be  advantageously  employed  to  meet 
these  apiilieations — in  fact,  the  conclusion  is 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


31 


iresistible,  that  the  proper  and  requisite 
number  of  dwellings  and  places  for  business 
ai-e  only  wanting  at  Cairo  to  seom-e  a  popula- 
tion equal  in  number  and  character  to  any 
town  in  the  West;  and  it  will  be  evideot  to 
every  one  that  the  advantages  which  the  com- 
pany possess  for  building  are  very  great, 
having  their  own  forests  of  timber,  saw  mills, 
quarries  of  stone,  lime  and  brick  yards,  and 
every  other  material  required  is  obtainable 
in  large  quantities,  and  consequently  at  a 
reduced  price ;  and  eveiy  kind  of  labor  which 
can  be  done,  to  save  advantage,  by  use  of 
steam  power  and  machinery,  will  be  adopted 
by  the  company  and  made  available." 

This  is  appropriately   chapter  one  of   the 
history   of   Cairo.     Abortive    as    the   grand 


effort,  or  "splurge,"  to  use  a  more  truthful 
description  of  the  occasion,  was,  it  was  the 
one  final  effort  to  lay  the  foundation  upon 
which  the  present  superstructure  stands.  A 
generation  has  passed  away  since  that  time, 
and  of  all  the  struggling,  active,  busy  throng 
that  were  parties  to  this  stirring  [and  hope- 
ful period,  there  are  but  very  few  now  left 
us  to  tell  over  the  story,  and  recall  the  hopes 
and  fears  and  trials  and  triumphs  that  ani- 
mated their  bosoms  in  those  young  days  of 
their  lives  and  of  the  city's  life.  The  story 
is  a  remarkable  one  and  fiill  of  interest,  and 
contains  a  lesson,  when  properly  'read,  that 
none  can  afford  to  pass  by  unnoticed,  and  that 
all  may  contemplate  with  pleasui'e  and 
profit. 


CHAPTER  11. 


CRASH  OF  THE  CAIRO  CITY    AND    CANAL  COMPANY  IN    1841— THE    EXODUS    OF   THE    PEOPLE- 
PASTIMES  AND  SOCIAL  LIFE  OF  THOSE  WHO  REMAIN— JUDGE  GILBERT— HOW  A  RIOT 
WAS    SUPPRESSED— BRYAN    SHANNESSY— GRADUAL    GROWTH    OF    THE 
TOWN  AGAIN— THE  RECORD    BROUGHT  DOWN  TO  1853,  ETC. 


IN  the  preceding  chapter  we  told  of  the 
first  gathering  of  the  people  here,  and  on 
what  a  grand  scale  they  went  to  work  to 
build  a  great  city.  How  the  Cairo  City  & 
Canal  Company  literally  took  charge  of 
everything,  and,  by  a  profuse  display  of 
money,  and  work  and  high  wages,  it  in- 
duced many  hundreds  of  people  to  come  and 
cast  their  fortunes  with  the  rising  young  city; 
and  how  in  a  moment,  when  all  seemed  the 
most  promising  and  cheerful,  the  whole 
thing  vanished  like  a  pricked  bubble,  and 
leaving  nothing  but  grief  and  pain  for 
promised  joy  to  the  many  himdreds  who  felt 
they  had  been  lured  into  the  wilds  by  false  rep- 
resentations, and  bitterness  and  disappoint- 


ment took  the  place  of  hope  and  promise' 
As  already  intimated,  when  the  crash  came 
there  had  gathered  here  about  two  thousand 
people,  and  they  were  proceeding  rapidly  to 
gather  about  them  all  the  appliances  of  civil- 
ized and  municipal  life.  A  man  named  T. 
J.  Gass,  mentioned  in  the  preceding  chapter, 
was  teaching  the  first  school  in  Cairo.  It 
was  a  pay  school,  taught  in  a  hastily  con- 
structed building  near  where  is  now  the  cox-- 
nerof  Twelfth  street  and  Washington  avenue. 
But  when  the  failure  of  the  city  company 
came,  everything  of  a  public  natiu-e,  and 
even  every  private  enterprise,  stopped,  and 
the  work  of  depopulating  at  once  set  in  and 
went  forward  with  almost  as  much  celerity  as 


32 


HISTOKY  OF  CAIKO. 


had  its  gathering  of  people  the  year  before. 
The  post  office,  Col.  Walter  Falls,  Postmas- 
ter, continued.  It  is  said,  as  an  evidence 
that  the  few  left  here  were  not  writing  to 
their  friends  for  money  to  get  away,  that  his 
salary  often  amounted  to  as  much  as  $2. 15 
per^quarter.  The  Catholic  Church,  the  only 
one  regularly  established  here  at  that  time, 
continued  its  work.  The  foundry  tried  to 
brave  the  storm,  and  continued  to  run  when 
all  else  had  apparently  stopped  forever,  but 
the  cross  levee  was  not  yet  constructed,  and 
the  floods  came  in  1842,  and,  on  the  22d  day 
of  March  of  that  year,  it  put  out  its  fur- 
naces, and  forever  afterward  partook  of  the 
universal  abandonment  to  quietude  and  decay. 
Col.  Falls  did  continue  his  store,  on  his 
wharf-boat  and  his  wharf-boat  business  until 
1846  or  1847,  when  he  quitted  the  town  and 
removed  to  a  place  once  called  "  Ohio  City," 
on  the  Missouri  shore,  a  short  distance 
below  Cairo. 

So  rapidly  did  the  process  of  depopulation 
go  on  that  in  a  few  months  there  were  not 
more  than  a  score  of  families  left.  The  flam- 
ing forges,  the  flying  wheels,  the  clangor  of 
machinery  and  the  "music  of  the  hammer 
and  the  saw"  had  died  away,  and  given  place 
to  a  quiet  that  could  not  have  been  far  sur- 
passed had  nature  set  upon  the  city  the  very 
signet  of  eternity . 

And  now  commenced,  on  the  part  of  those 
who  held  unsatisfied  claims  against  the  com- 
pany, a  legal  effort  to  secure  their  own. 
Judgments  were  rendered,  executions  issued, 
and  every  article  of  movable  property  left 
or  abandoned  by  the  company,  not  excepting 
the  fine  machinery  of  the  mills,  shops  and 
foundries,  was  seized  upon  and  sold  for  a 
mere  trifle  under  the  hammer  at  public  sale. 
The  dry  dock  was  either  cut  loose,  or  the 
high  waters  of  1842  swept  it  away  in  the 
flood,    and  as   it  approached  the  Kentucky 


shore  it  was  seized  under  an  execution  for 
debt,  sold,  and  taken  to  New  Orleans  and 
used  at  Algiers  until  the  war,  when  the  rebels 
converted  it  into  one  of  their  first  formidable 
war  vessels. 

For  more  than  a  year,  the  Cairo  City  & 
Canal  Company,  as  if  overpowered  by  their 
complete  failure,  appeared  utterly  careless  of 
the  wreck  they  had  left  behind  them.  The 
company  had  gone  and  chaos  came,  and  there 
seemed  to  be  no  one  left  to  look  after  or  care 
for  its  property  or  its  rights  here.  People 
moved  into  the  houses  that  were  deserted  at 
will,  where  they  had  no  landlord,  no  rents, 
no  taxes,  nor  no  care  how  soon  it  fell  into 
decay  or  was  used  piece-meal  for  kindling  the 
matutinal  fires.  The  same  with  the  land; 
whoever  first  fancied  to  take  possession  and 
cultivate  any  cleai*ed  portion,  did  so  without 
let  or  hindi'ance.  We  have  spoken  of  the 
dangerous  powers  the  Legislatui'e  had  placed 
in  Holbrook's  hands.  Upon  the  sudden  dis- 
appearance of  this  autocrat,  with  his  excess 
of  law  and  authority,  the  people  were  left  at 
the  other  extreme,  and  possession  now  was 
sovereign,  and,  as  a  rule,  every  man  was  a 
law  unto  himself. 

Judge  Miles  A.  Gilbert  was  the  first  per- 
son to  come  to  Cairo  after  the  collapse,  and 
act  as  agent  and  representative  of  the  com- 
pany, to  the  extent  of  protecting  its  property 
and  his  own,  of  which  he  had  large  quanti- 
ties, as  well  as  a  considerable  holder  in  the 
stocks  of  the  company.  A  detailed  account 
of  what  he  found  here,  and  the  spirit  and 
moods  of  the  people  in  their  anger  at  Hol- 
brook  and  his  company,  could  they  be  fully 
given,  would  read  like  a  Western  early-day 
romance.  And  of  all  the  men  it  was  possible 
to  send  here  to  speak  peace  to  the  brewing 
storm,  and  stay  the  uplifted  hands  of  vio- 
lence, he  was  the  only  one.  His  unflinching 
integrity,  his  ripe    judgment,  and  his  mild. 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


33 


and  firm  and  fair  treatment  of  all  questions 
that  arose  between  the  people  and  the  com- 
pany were  productive  of  results  that  must 
have  saved  even  bloodshed  at  times,  and  at 
all  times  it  was  a  protection  to  the  property  of 
the  place,  as  well  as  to  the  angered  and  out- 
raged people  who  clamored  for  the  pay  due 
them. 

Judge  Gilbert  may  justly  be  regarded  as 
one  of  the  active  and  leading  spirits  engaged 
in  the  early  enterprise  of  founding  the  city 
of  Cairo,  and  the  only  one  of  the  early 
founders  of  the  city  now  living.  He  was 
born  in  Hartford,  Conn.,  January  1,  1810; 
came  to  Kaskaskia,  111.,  June  8,  1832,  with 
a  large  stock  of  goods;  merchandized  there 
eleven  yeai-s;  November  17,  1836,  married 
Ann  Eliza  Bakei',  eldest  daughter  of  Hon. 
David  J.  ^Baker,  Sr.,  at  Kaskaskia,  111. 
April,  1843,  he  removed  to  Cairo,  and  took 
charge  of  all  the  property  there  owned  by 
the  Cairo  City  &  Canal  Company,  as  their 
agent.  The  company  had  just  failed,  and  a 
great  number  of  men,  in  consequence,  thrown 
out  of  employment,  were  in  a  wild,  ungovern- 
able state,  making  a  great  noise  about  their 
pay.  Judge  Gilbert's  gi-eat- grandfather  was 
Abraliam  Gilbert,  who  died  at  Hamden  in 
1718,  and  was  the  grandson  of  Josiah  Gil- 
bert, who,  with  three  other  brothers,  came 
from  Norfolk,  England,  to  America  in  1640, 
and  settled  near  New  Haven,  Conn. ;  so  that 
Judge  Gilbert's  lineage  is  traceable  directly 
back  to  the  "  Gilberts  of  Norfolk,"  England, 
whose  coat  of  arms  bore  the  motto  Tenax 
propositi — firm  of  pni-pose;  and  there  is,  per 
haps,  nothing  more  illustrative  of  this  trait 
of  character  in  Judge  Gilbert,  in  his  long, 
honorable  and  active  life,  or  better  illustra- 
tive of  the  condition  of  affairs  at  Cairo,  im- 
mediately following  the  failvu'e  of  the  Cairo 
City  &  Canal  Company,  than  his  bold,  de- 
termined and  successful  defense  of  the  prop- 


erty of  the  company  he  came  to  Cairo  to 
protect  and  preserve,  as  against  the  enraged 
mob  of  workmen  he  found  fiercely  demand- 
ing everything,  and  threatening  an  open  out- 
break, and,  by  mob  violence,  to  seize  and 
sacrifice  all  within  reach.  This  was  the  con- 
dition of  affairs  when  Judge  Gilbert  arrived 
in  the  spring  of  1843,  and  his  first  work  was 
to  set  about  the  most  active  efforts  to  thwart 
the  threatened  mob.  Had  he  reached  the 
grounds  sooner,  it  is  probable  he  could  have 
influenced  the  leaders  and  prevented  an  out- 
break. Here  were  a  great  number  of  men  sud- 
denly thrown  out  of  employment;  they  had 
grown  clamorous  and  turbulent,  and  they  de- 
termined to  break  into  the  company's  machine 
and  carpenter  shops,  a  large  building, 
150x200  feet  in  dimensions,  and  filled  with 
the  most  expensive  machinery,  which  was 
attached  to  and  formed  part  of  the  building, 
and  in  law  formed  a  part  of  the  realty,  and 
had  to  be  so  treated  as  regards  attachments 
or  executions.  The  tui-bulents  went  to  Judge 
Gilbert,  and  demanded  that  he  allow  them  to 
enter  the  building  and  detach  the  machinery 
and  sell  it  under  execution.  He  had  n6 
authority  to  grant  the  request,  and  so  in- 
formed them.  They  swore  they  would  take 
it  at  all  hazards,  when  he  informed  them  he 
was  here  to  protect  the  property,  and  he 
would  do  so  against  friend  or  foe.  The 
leaders  retired  in  great  anger  from  the  in- 
terview, and  at  once  began  to  gather  their 
mob.  Judge  Gilbert,  realizing  what  was 
coming,  selected  four  laboring  men,  upon 
whom  he  could  fully  rely,  hired  them  and 
armed  them,  and  the  five  men  entered  the 
building  and  hastily  barricaded  the  doors  and 
windows  as  best  they  could,  and  took  their 
respective  positions  at  ^such  places  as  the  at- 
tacking party  would  have  to  approach.  They 
had  hardly  had  time  to  do  so  when  the  mob, 
in  gi-eat  force,  approached  the  front  or  main 


34 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


entrance;  failing  to  open  this,  they  tried  the 
windows,  but  finding  them  secm-ely  fastened 
they  procured  a  ladder.  Judge  Gilbert,  from 
the  second  story  window,  addressed  the 
crowd,  and  his  quiet,  firm,  yet  pleasant  man- 
ner secured  their  close  attention.  ITe  told 
them  he  was  their  friend,  and  not  their 
enemy;  that  it  would  deeply  pain  him  to 
hurt  or  injiu-e  any  one  of  them  in  any  way, 
but  that  he  had  been  placed  there  to  protect 
the  property,  and  protect  it  he  would,  to  the 
extent  of  his  life.  He  advised  them  to  go 
peaceably  home,  and  await  the  results  of  the 
negotiations  of  the  President  of  the  com- 
pany, who  was  then  in  New  York,  and  nego- 
tiating for  money  wherewith  to  pay  every  one 
of  them  every  cent  the  company  owed  them. 
He  showed  them  that  they  were  violating  the 
law,  and  that,  instead  of-  thus  righting  their 
wrongs,  they  were  putting  themselves  in  the 
position  to  be  punished  by  law;  that  the  law 
was  his  protection;  it  was  with  him  in  his 
effort  to  protect  property,  and  this  made  his 
apparent  helplessness  and  weakness  strong 
enough  to  resist  and  riepel  even  their  over- 
powering numbers.  He  frankly  told  them 
they  could  not  come  into  the  building  while 
he  was  alive,  and  that  for  them  to  kill  him 
in  order  to  get  in  would  be  murder,  for  which 
they  would  be  hung.  He  m'ged  them  to 
peaceably  go  away,  and  concluded  by  in- 
forming them  that  he  would  kill  the  ih'st 
man  who  entered  the  building.  This  quiet 
and  sensible  talk  had  a  marked  influence  on 
the  crowd;  the  leaders  called  them  away, 
and  they  retired  a  short  distance  to  hold  a 
council.  After  much  parleying,  and  a 
bounteous  supply  of  fighting  whisky,  they  re- 
turned to  the  charge,  more  fiuuous  than  ever. 
They  surrounded  the  building,  cursing, 
swearing  and  howling  their  rage,  like  in- 
furiated beasts,  and  calling  upon  each  other 
to  kill    Judge  Gilbert  and   his  four   faithful 


companions  and  take  the  machinery  and  con- 
tents and  destroy  the  building.  The  front  of 
the  building  was  upon  or  against  the  levee, 
and  the  rear  of  it  stood  about  ten  feet  above 
the  ground,  and  here  was  a  large  trap -door, 
used  for  the  purpose  of  taking  in  and  pass- 
ing out  the  most  curaberseme  articles  of 
goods.  The  mob  succeeded  in  breaking  and 
pushing  up  and  open  this  trap-door,  and 
then  they  attempted  to  "boost"  their  men  up 
through  this.  Judge  Gilbert  was  at  the  spot 
by  the  time  they  had  the  trap  open,  and  again 
appealed  personally  to  some  of  the  leaders 
and  begged  them  to  go  away.  He  showed 
them  he  was  armed  with  firearms  and  a  stout 
hickory  club,  and  told  them  he  alone  coald 
kill  them  as  fast  as  they  could  show  their 
heads  above  the  floor,  and  informed  them  he 
would  certainly  do  so.  Several  ventured  to 
put  up  their  hands  and  clasp  the  upper  side 
of  the  floor,  but  a  sharp  rap  from  the  hickory 
club  made  them  quickly  take  them  down 
again.  Finally,  after  trying  all  manner  of 
means  to  efifect  an  entrance,  they  persuaded 
one  poor  fellow,  who  was  much  under  the  in- 
fluence of  liquor,  to  let  them  push  him  up 
through  the  floor.  He  was  warned,  as  he 
started  up,  not  to  attempt  it,  but,  nothing 
daunted,  he  allowed  himself  to  be  shoved 
forward.  He  received  a  light  blow  from  the 
club,  and  it  affected  him  so  little  that  the 
crowd  cheered  and  pushed  him  the  harder. 
The  club  was  then  rained  upon  his  head  fast 
and  furious,  and  finally  he  yelled  in  agony 
to  be  lowered  instantly  or  he  would  be  killed 
sure  enough,  and  he  was  let  down.  This 
man's  dreadful  experience  sobered  him,  and 
also  seems  to  have  had  the  effect  of  sobering 
the  crowd.  A  feeble  effort  was  made  to  call 
out  other  volunteers  to  go  up,  but  to  this  there 
was  no  response.  They  began  to  fall  away 
in  small  squads,  but  the  majority  lingered 
around  the  building   until   after  dark,  when 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


35 


they  all  left,  and  quiet  reigned  supreme  once 
more.  Judge  Gilbert  and  bis  four  men  re- 
mained on  guard  all  night,  and  it  can  well 
be  imagined  they  did  not  even  sleep  by 
relays.  They  stayed  close  upon  duty  for 
several  days,  until  the  leaders  of  the  mob 
(something  they  should  have  thought  of  tirst) 
advised  vrith  attorneys,  and  concluded  a  mob 
v^as  not  the  true  remedy  for  their  wrongs. 

This  episode  is  properly  a  histoiy  of  the 
trying  times  in  Cairo,  but  it  well  answers  the 
double  purpose  of  illustrating  the  temper  of 
the  people  when  Judge  Gilbert  came  here 
to  take  possession  of  the  Cairo  City  Canal 
Company's  interests,  as  well  as  something  of 
the  iron  there  was  in  the  Judge's  nature,  and 
which  constituted  him  the  right  man  in  the 
right  place. 

Judge  Gilbert  had  the  cross  levee  built  in 
1843,  and  had  the  Ohio  and  Mississippi 
levees  repaired,  inclosing  about  six  hundred 
acres  of  land,  so  strong  and  permanent  that 
it  secured  Cairo  from  inundation  during  the 
great  flood  of  1844.  He  remained  there  for 
three  years;  was  one  of  the  original  pur- 
chasers of  the  land,  from  Government,  on 
which  the  city  is  now  biiilt;  was  identified 
with  all  the  charter  railroads  and  organiza- 
tions of  the  city,  as  either  Pi-esident,  Direc- 
tor or  stockholder,  up  to  the  appointment  of 
Samuel  Staats  Taylor  as  agent  of  the  Trustees 
(Thomas  S.  Taylor  and  Charles  Davis),  He 
then  moved  to  Ste.  Genevieve  County,  Mo. , 
where  he  had  large  landed  interests;  laid  oflf 
a  town  thereon,  and  called  it  "Ste.  Mary," 
now  a  flourishing  village  of  several  hundred 
inhabitants,  where  he  has  resided  ever  since, 
and  still  resides  at  his  homestead,  "Oakwood 
Villa,"  situated  upon  a  beautiful  hill  over- 
looking the  village,  on  the  banks  of  the 
Mississippi  River,  with  a  splendid  view  of 
the  river  for  many  miles  each  way.  He  has 
been  an    active,  energetic  man  ail    his  life; 


has  been  for  many  j-ears,  and  still  is,  though 
now  over  seventy-three  years  of  age,  one  of 
the  leading  and  most  influential  citizens  of 
Ste.  Genevieve  County,  with  a  high  character 
for  honesty  and  integrity,  and  [n  kindness, 
hospitality  and  generosity  poverbial  among 
those  who  know  him.  He  was  elected  Judge 
of  the  County  and  Probate  Courts  of  the 
county  three  successive  terms — twelve  years 
— and  so  well  did  he  manage  the  afifairs  and 
finances  of  the  county  and  discharge  the  du- 
ties of  the  ofiice  that  he  was  strongly  urged 
to  accept  another  election  to  the  office,  but 
declined.  In  politics,  Judge  Gilbert,  since 
the  disruption  of  the  old  Whig  party,  has 
been  a  Democrat,  but  strongly  opposed  the 
secession  movement  in  Missouri.  The  first 
Union  resolutions  in  his  county  were  drav^n 
up  by  him,  advocating  to  "stick  to  the  Union," 
and  that  "secession  would  prove  the  death- 
knell  of  slairery." 

In  1800,  during  the  secession  excitement 
in  Missouri,  the  State  Convention  was  called, 
to  detei'mine  whether  Missoui'i  should  secede 
or  remain  in  the  Union,  Judge  Gilbert  took 
an  active  part  in  seciu'ing  Union  delegates 
from  his  district,  against  powerful  opposi- 
tion, and  it  was  largely  through  the  ,  influ- 
ence of  his  pen  and  management  that  Union 
delegates  were  elected  from  his  Congression- 
al District.  At  the  Congressional  District 
Convention,  it  is  said  that  he  sat  up  all 
night,  wrote  the  Union  circular  address  to 
the  people,  got  it  printed,  and  had  it  circu- 
lated all  over  the  district  by  12-o'clock  next 
day,  and  before  the  secessionists  (and 
seceders  from  that  convention)  had  their 
circular  printed. 

Judge  Gilbert  still  holds  large  interests  in 
Cairo  and  Alexander  County;  has  two  sons 
living  in  Cairo — William  B.  and  Miles 
Frederick  Gilbert — practicing  law  there. 
His  wife  is  also  still   living,  and  he  has  one 


36 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


married  daughter — Sarah  F.,  wife  of  Thomas 
B.  Whitledge,  residing  with  him  at  Ste. 
Mary,  and  a  prominent  lawyer  of  that  place. 
Judge  Gilbert  makes  frequent  visits  to 
Cairo,  and  takes  great  interest  in  the  pros- 
perity of  the  place,  and  still  has  a  lively 
faith  in  the  future  greatness  of  the  city. 

The  presence  and  control  of  the  company's 
interests  here  by  Judge  Gilbert  was  a  great 
surprise  to  many  who  began  to  look  upon 
themselves  as  old  settlers.  It  was  the  first 
intimation  that  the  abandonment  had  not 
been  so  complete  as  they  had  for  some  time 
supposed.  "When  he  had  completed  the  cross 
levee,  and  had  so  strengthened  the  others  as 
to  protect  the  city,  even  from  the  extraordi- 
nary high  waters  of  the  Mississippi  in  the 
year  1844,  when  Cairo  was  the  only  dry  spot 
from  St.  Louis  to  New  Orleans,  and  when 
these  duties  were  discharged,  he  would  re- 
turn to  business  that  called  him  to  other 
places,  and,  therefore,  his  government  of  the 
people  here  amounted  to  no  more  than  the 
mere  assertion  of  the  company's  title  and 
possession  to  moveable  property,  so  the 
Cairoites  continued  to  occupy  at  will  the  houses 
and  so  much  of  the  land  as  they  pleased, 
without  rents  or  question.  And  they  were 
soon  inclined  to  hoot  at  the  idea  of  any  one 
collecting  rent  from  them.  Was  it  not 
enough  to  live  in  such  a  place  as  Cairo!  And 
thus  they  assured  each  other.  Thus  occupied, 
the  property  fell  far  short  of  furnishing  the 
means  of  paying  the  annual  taxes  levied 
against  it.  For  about  thirteen  years — from 
1841  to  1853 — there  was  little  of  change  in 
Cairo,  except  that  of  slow  decay. 

Mose  Harrell  is  authority  for  the  assertion 
that  the  little  handful  of  people  here — 
as  the  shelter  they  enjoyed,  the  ground 
they  cultivated,  and  the  general  privileges 
they  exercised,  cost    them   nothing,  —  prob- 


ably enjoyed  themselves.  This  inference  is 
strengthened  by  the  recollection  that  daring- 
all  this  time,  they  did,  or  had,  but  little  else 
to  do,  and  Harrell,  therefore,  asserts  (he  was 
one  of  the  jolly  crowd)  "  they  enjoyed  them- 
selves to  a  degree  beyond  -ajiy  other  people, 
so  far  as  he  knew  or  could  hear  or  read  about. " 
In  the  course  of  time,  after  the  crash,  the  mea- 
ger population  left,  of  about  fifty  souls,  had 
increased  to  nearly  two  hundred,  and  the  town 
seemed  to  run  to  wharf-boats,  flats  and  all 
manner  of  water  craft.  The  business  was 
nearly  all  upon  the  water's  edge,  and  there 
was  quite  a  period  when  it  really  looked  as 
though,  as  soon  as  the  few  houses  rotted 
down,  or  were  used  up  for  kindling-wood, 
the  entire  population  and  business  would 
crawl  over  outside  the  levee,  and  become  a 
real  floating  city.  Here  were  the  gathering 
places,  eating  places,  drinking  places  and  the 
center  of  all  the  fun  or  excitement.  People 
wanted  to  see  the  steamboats  land;  they 
wanted  to  go  on  board,  look  around,  and,  by 
examining  the  passengers,  recall  recollections 
of  when  they  were  innocent  members  of  the 
civilized  world. 

There  were  three  wharf-boats  moored  in 
front  of  the  town,  and,  strange  as  it  may 
seem,  all  were  doing  a  fair  business,  and 
some  of  them  made  money.  The  Louisiana, 
Henry  Simmons,  proprietor,  lay  about  oppo- 
site what  is  now  Second  street;  the  Ellen 
Kirkman,  Rodney  &  Wright,  proprietors,  was 
just  below  this,  and  the  Sam  Dale,  T.  J. 
Smith  &  Co.,  proprietors,  lay  below  where 
the  Halliday  House  stands.  "  On  the  hill," 
as  the  top  of  the  levee  was  then  called,  were  to 
be  found  the  Cairo  Hotel,  by  S.  H.  Candee,  the 
stores  of  B.  S.  Harrell  and  Oliver  S.  Sayre, 
the  office  of  the  Cairo  Delta  newspaper,  the 
saloon  of  George  L.  Rattlemueller,  and  the 
bakery  of  George  Baumgard.     The  five  last- 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


37 


mentioned  were  all  in  the  buildings  erected 
by  Jones  &  Holbrook  on  the  ground  now  oc- 
cupied by  the  Halliday  House. 

About   the  total  population  that  was  left 
here    after   the    exodus,  as   the   names   were 
furnished  us  by  Mr.  Robert  Baird,  who  was 
here  as  early  as    I83l>,  are    the    following — 
premising  there  are  some,  of  course,  thai  Mr. 
Baird  cannot  now  recall,  or   has  wholly  for- 
gotten, and  further  stating  the  explanatory 
fact  that,  of  all  the  earliest  comers  of  Cairo, 
the    only    persons  now    living  of  those  who 
did  not  leave  the  city  in  its  first  panic,  are 
Robert   Baird,  Nick  Devore    and   Mrs.   Pat 
Smith — just  three  persons.      Here  is  the  now 
imperfect  list  of  the  1839-40  comers:    Squire 
Marsh,  Constable   Lee,  Dr.  Cummings,  T.  J. 
Glass,  Mr.    Jones,  Thomas  Eagan,  Mrs.  Pat 
Smith,  D.    W.    Thompson,  who  had  moved 
down  the    hull  of  the  Asia  and  converted  it 
into  a  wharf -boat  and  hotel,  afterward  taking 
oflf  the  cabin  of    the    boat   and  moving  it  to 
Blandville,  Ky. ,  where  he  made  another  hotel 
of  it,  which  was  about  the  first  house  in  that 
place;  Hathaway  &  Garrison,  the  latter  went 
to  California    and  grew  quite  wealthy;  Mr. 
McCoy,  who    afterward   went   to   Iowa;  Dr. 
Gilpin    and    family,  kept  a   boarding-house 
near  where  is  now    the  corner  of    Sixth  and 
levee;  Thomas  Feely,  kept  dairy,  near   cor- 
ner  of   Eighth    and    levee;    Mi'.    Adkins,    a 
butcher;    Mr.    Ferdon,    a    carpenter,    whose 
grown  young  daughter  was  afflicted  with  at- 
tacks of  occasional  insanity.     In  one  of  these 
moods  she    wandered  off,  and   some  distance 
north  of  town  she    came  to  an  old,    deserted 
hut,  and  as   it  was  night   she  entered  it  and 
found  two  deer  inside,  and,  closing  the  door, 
kept  them  there,  and  in  this  strange  company 
the  girl    passed  the  night,   unharmed  and  in 
seeming   content.       The   next   morning   she 
stepped  out  and   fastened   the  door,  and  re- 
porting her  adventure  to  her  father,  he,  in  com- 


pany with  some  friends,  among  whom  was  our 
informant,  Mr.  Baird,  repaired  to  the  hut  and 
secured  the  venison;  next,  a  Mr.  Lyles,  the 
father-in-law  of  Mr.  Miles  F.  Parker,  a 
citizen  of  Cairo;  Mr.  Shutleff,  a  foreman  in 
the  shops;  Tom  Brohan,  a  teamster  and  con- 
tractor; Jacob  Weldon  and  family,  his 
widow  afterward  marrying  Judge  Shannessy; 
Isaac  Lee,  whose  son  Bill  was  for  many 
years  a  Cairo  landmark;  John  Riggs,  a  ma- 
chinist, left  here  afterward  and  went  to  Cali- 
fornia; Ed McKinney,  machinist;  John  Sulli- 
van, tailor;  Mr.  Kehoe,  carpenter  and  kept  a 
boarding-house;  Walter  Falls,  kept  bar  at  the 
hotel  and  afterward  wharf-boat  and  store; 
John  Addison,  carpenter  and  boarding- 
house;  John  Wesley,  shoe-maker;  William 
Holbrook  and  family;  Henry  Ours,  baker  and 
saloon;  George  L.  Rattlemueller,  saloon. 

Pat  Smith  married  Miss  Hennessy,  the 
wedding  taking  place  at  the  residence  of 
Mrs.  Weldon.  It  was  late  in  the  afternoon, 
and  at  the  chui-ch  door  Smith  left  his  new 
wife  to  go  along  with  the  crowd,  while  he 
went  to  get  up  his  cows  (he  seems  to  have 
alwa}'s  had  milch  cows).  He  got  his  cows, 
milked,  and  bethought  himself  to  look  up  his 
wife,  and  she  had  gone  visiting  among  her 
friends,  enjoying  herself  very  much  indeed, 
and  partly  to  annoy  and  plague  her  husband, 
and  partly  for  fun;  so  well  did  she  hide  her- 
self that  it  was  late  at  night  before  he  found 
her,  although  he  had  traveled  the  town  over. 
No  proper  history  of  Cairo  will  ever  be 
written  that  omits  the  conspicuous  mention 
of  the  name  of  Judge  Bryan  Shannessy;  nay 
more,  it  must  account  well  for  some  of  his 
acts,  and  much  of  the  remarkable  peculiari- 
ties of  character  that  possessed  him.  For 
the  true  history  of  all  people  is  chiefly  in  the 
candid  picturing  of  the  extraordinary  or 
leading  characters,  who  were  among  the  chief 
promoters  or   factors  of   that  society's  exist- 


38 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


ence.  By  this  we  do  not  mean  the  old  notion 
of  the  history  of  a  people,  where  the  histo- 
rian had  filled  his  whole  duty  when  he  told 
all  the  minutiae  of  the  kings,  princes,  the 
queens  and  princesses,  and  how  they  were 
dressed,  dined,  wined,  and  the  cost  of  the 
latter;  how  they  were  sick,  or  died,  or  were 
buried,  or  were  born,  or  with  other  details 
ad  nauseum.  Or  of  battles,  defeats,  and 
slaughters  and  sieges;  of  famines;  of  chm-ch 
dignitaries  and  State  rulers.  These  things, 
during  the  centuries  alone,  were  history. 
Had  Voltaire  and  Buckle  not  lived,  this 
might  have  been  so  yet,  and  continued  indefi- 
nitely. 

But  now,  the  history  of  a  people,  State  or 
nation  means  the  common  people  as  well  as 
the  notorious — the  history  of  all  alike.  Of 
course  it  is  impossible  to  individually  men- 
tion each  of  the  masses,  as  this  would  make 
it  a  mere  directory  of  names,  but  to  portray 
the  extraordinary  characters  of  those  who 
were  of  the  masses,  who  mingled  with  and 
were  a  part  of  them,  who,  as  it  were,  were 
the  very  outgrowth;  the  immediate  develop- 
ment of  that  community  itself,  is  to  bring  to 
the  reader's  knowledge  one  of  the  best  and 
clearest  hints  of  what  the  great  mass  of  the 
people  were,  how  they  acted,  thought  and 
were  influenced. 

Such  a  representative  we  deem  Mr.  Shan- 
nessy  to  be.  He  came  here  with  the  rush  of 
1840,  as  unpretentious  and  unassuming  an 
Irishman  as  th«  humblest  knight  of  the  wheel- 
barrow in  all  the  crowd  that  were  drawn  here 
by  the  mighty  schemes  of  the  founders  of 
Cairo.  But  there  was  that  stuff  in  him, 
sometimes  called  fate,  faith  or  a  star,  which 
made  him  shape  his  course  very  differently 
indeed  from  the  common  crowd.  He  was  one 
of  the  very  few  who  did  not  flee  when  the 
memorable  crash  of  1841  came,  and  reduced 
the  city,  in  a  few  weeks,  from  a   prosperous 


and  busy  population  of  over  two  thousand  to 
less  than  fifty  souls,  with  no  work,  no  busi- 
ness, nothing,  in  short,  to  do  except  to  oc- 
cupy "the  deserted  houses  of  the  desolate  city. 
Then  Shannessy,  like  the  man  who  said  if  all 
the  world  were  dead  he  would  go  to  Phila- 
delphia and  open  a  big  hotel,  he  opened  a 
boarding-house,  and  in  1853,  while  but  little 
better  than  cockle  and  jimson  weeds  had  un- 
disputed possession  here,  we  find  him  the 
happy  lord  of  a  dingy  boarding-house,  a 
saloon,  a  Squire's  shop,  a  drug  store,  the 
post  office  and  a  doctor's  ofiice.  There  was 
nothiog  else  in  the  place,  or  he  would  have 
had  that.  It  is  said  the  few  natives  of  the 
place  thought  of  calling  on  him  to  preach  to 
them,  but  when  they  talked  it  over  among 
themselves  they  got  afraid  of  the  fiery  thun- 
derbolts he  would  launch  at  them  in  all  his 
seiTQons,  mixed  with  brogue  and  brimstone. 
He  continued  to  hold  office  all  his  long  life. 
When  the  city  had  waxed  great,  he  became 
Associate  County  Judge,  and  he  was  Police 
Magistrate  in  this  city  so  long  that  "  five 
dollars  and  costs "  was  as  natural  to  his 
tongue  and  his  existence  as  breath. 

He  was  a  shrewd,  original,  strong-minded 
man,  who  "  never  went  back  on  a  friend. " 
This  last  trait  is  well  told  by  the  story  of  a 
prominent  lawyer,  who  desired  to  bring  a 
certain  suit,  bat  felt  doubtful  about  the  issue; 
80  he  went  to  the  Squire  and  told  him  freely 
his  dilemma,  and  stated  what  he  supposed  to 
be  the  facts  of  the  case.  The  Squire  told 
him  "  that  sifter  would  hold  water,  dead 
sure. "  The  suit  was  brought,  but  on  trial 
the  defendant  introduced  evidence  that  utter- 
ly destroyed  every  vestige  of  plaintiff's  case. 
The  court  finally  gave  his  decision  in  an 
elaborate  and  learned  opinion,  reasoned 
about  the  law,  the  evidence,  the  world's  his- 
tory, the  flood,  the  pandects,  the  quadrilater- 
al and  the  Schleswig-Holstein  difficulty,  and 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


39 


concluded  by  giving  judgment,  for  the  plain- 
tiff. Everybody  was  amazed,  even  the  plain- 
tiff's attorney.  Afterward,  to  this  attorney, 
he  remarked:  "  That  was  a  very  close  case, 
very  close.  The  closest  case  I  ever  decided 
in  my  life.  In  fact,  I  believe  the  law  and 
the  evidence  were  both  dead  against  you; but 
I  never  go  back  on  a  friend. " 

He  loved  his  friends  as  well  as  he  loved 
office,  and  he  believed  in  being  just  to  them, 
and  this  sometimes  made  strangers  think  they 
had  to  suffer.  But  altogether  he  was  full  of 
good,  kind  traits  of  character.  This  is  evi- 
denced by  the  fact  that  these  outre  decisions 
never  alienated  his  friends  so  as  to  defeat 
him  at  an  election.  He  reared  a  large  family, 
of  the  very  highest  respectability,  and  de- 
parted this  life  at  a  ripe  old  age  and  full  of 
honors,  and  his  fame  is  growing  greener  in 
the  memories  of  all  his  numerous  friends 
than  is  that  of,  probably,  any  other  man's. 

It  was  this  decade  of  years  in  Cairo's  life 
that  it  acquired  a  wide — if  not  a  world-wide 
— reputation,  as  being  one  of  the  "  hardest  '* 
places  known.  Partly,  this  was  owing  to  the 
natural  reflex  swing  of  the  pendulum  that 
had  been  pushed  too  far  the  other  way  by 
Holbrook  &  Co.,  in  their  extraordinary 
puffing  of  the  place  in  its  first  heyday,  but 
it  is  doubtful  if  this  was  one  of  the  largest 
factors  that  resulted  in  such  gross  injustice 
to  Cairo.  The  wi-iter  distinctly  recollects 
that  the  first  he  ever  heard  of  Cairo  and 
Mound  City'  was  in  the  scorching  lampoons 
that  at  that  time  were  passing  between  Mose 
Harrell  and  Len  Faxon,  on  the  two  rival 
towns.  Doubtless,  like  thousands  of  othei's, 
he  formed  his  idea  of  the  two  places, 
although  he  knew,  of  course,  they  were  the 
essence  of  extravagance,  from  these  mutual 
attacks.  If  he  stopped  to  think  about  it  at 
all,  he  must  have  known  that  the  lanfruajre 
was    Pickwickian   in    the  extreme;    yet,  per- 


haps, like  all  the  world,  who  knew  nothing 
of  their  own  knowledge,  he  must  have  sup- 
posed they  understood  each  other's  weak 
points,  and  made  the  attacks  accordingly. 
For  instance,  the  Mound  City  Emporium 
prints  the  following  neighborly  notice: 

"A  number  of  Cairoites,  impelled,  per- 
haps, by  a  desire  to  see  dry  land — to  stand 
once  more  on  terra  firma — visited  Mound 
City  last  Friday,  ou  the  tug-boat  Pollard. 
They  were  a  cadaverous,  saffron-colored  lot 
of  mortals,  most  terribly  afflicted  with  bad 
hats  and  the  smell  of  onions.  These  poor 
people  inhaled  the  pure  atmosphere  of  our 
highlands  with  an  almost  ravenous  greedi- 
ness, and  on  their  wan  features  would  occa- 
sionally play  a  flush  of  health  as  they  did  so 
that  betokened  they  were  sucking  in  a  flow, 
to  their  physical  and  spiritual  parts,  of  some 
of  that  strong,  buoyant  principle  of  life 
possessed  by  every  Mound  Cityite.  But  from 
this  delightful  recuperative  process  they 
were  summoned  by  the  tap  of  the  boat  bell. 
Descending  from  the  elevation  our  city  oc- 
cupies to  the  landing,  they  boarded  the 
craft,  and  then,  descending  the  Ohio  to  its 
mouth,  they  stopped  and  made  a  further 
descent  of  sixteen  feet  or  more,  which  placed 
them  in  Cairo.  A  further  descent  of  sixteen 
feet  could  not  be  made  on  account  of  heat, 
smoke  and  the  smell  of  brimstone!  That's 
just  the  distance  between  the  two  places!" 

To  this  the  Times  and  Delta  replies:  "The 
Buckeye  Belle  came  down  from  Mound  City 
last  Saturday,  having  on  board  quite  a  num- 
ber of  people  from  that  delectable  village; 
but  the  quarantine  officers  of  our  city  enforced 
the  ordinance  relative  to  steamboats  landinsr 
with  sick  people  on  board,  and  would  not 
permit  her  to  touch,  whereupon,  after  mak- 
ing sundry  ineffectual  attempts  to  land  at 
each  wharf-boat,  she  shoved  out  into  the 
river,  whei'e  all  hands  set  up  one  indignant 


40 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


yell  of  defiance,  and,  'cussing,'  proceeded 
back  to  Mound  City,  where,  we  presume,  tbe 
passengers  were  remanded  back  to  their  re- 
spective hospitals." 

The  Cairo  paper  thus  topographically  talks 
of  its  neighbor: 

"At  last  accounts  from  Mound  City,  the 
principal  portion  of  the  inhabitants  were 
roosting  in  trees.  Some  of  them  sleep  with 
skiffs  by  their  bedsides.  One  of  these  deter- 
mined not  to  be  treed,  procui'ed  two  quarts 
of  'crow  whisky,'  some  bread  and  bacon,  and 
induced  one  or  two  inhabitants  to  go  with 
him,  and  they  have  fortified  themselves  on 
the  '  carbuncle,'  or  mound — the  only  dry 
place  in  the  town — where  they  intend  to 
stay  until  the  waters  subside. 

"  The  principal  occupation  of  the  inhabit- 
ants for  the  past  three  weeks  has  been  every 
half  hour  to  proceed  to  the  river,  punch  a 
stick  in  the  ground  at  the  water's  edge,  see 
how  much  the  water  has  come  up  and.  then 
go  home  and  move  their  cooking  iitensils 
and  '  steds  '  into  the  second  stories  of  their 
houses.  Where  there  are  no  second  stories, 
*as  we  said  before,'  they  'clum'  trees." 

From  the  same  source,  here  are  a  few  re- 
marks on  health: 

"  The  Mayor  of  Mound  City,  in  his  inau- 
gural address,  says  to  the  Council:  'It  will 
soon  be  your  duty  to  purchase,  and  fit  for 
use,  a  sufficient  ground  for  a  public  ceme- 
tery. It  will  take  half  of  the  town  plat  for 
that  pui'pose.'  The  Mayor  means,  we  sup- 
pose, by  '  fitting  for  use,'  that  portions  of  the 
swamp  should  be  fenced  and  filled  up  with 
dirt,  so  as  to  give  it  a  bottom." 

Or  this:  "  We  saw  a  couple  betting  high 
at  draw  poker  the  other  night.  The  ante  was 
two  negroes,  and  the  little  one  had  run  up 
the  pot  to  a  cotton  plantation  and  three 
stern-wheel  boats. 


"  '  I'll  go  you  the  City  of  Sandoval  better,' 
said  the  big  one. 

"  'I'll  see  you  with  Mound  City  and  call 
you.'  said  t'other. 

"'Psahw!  That  ain't  money  enough,' 
said  big  bones. 

"  'Well,  I'll  take  that  back,  and  bet  you 
a  keg  of  tar  and  a  blind  horse.' 

"  '  That'll  do,'  said  big  bones,  '  but  don't 
try  to  ring  in  Mound  City  again,  for  I  want 
to  play  a  decent  game! '  " 

And  in  this  way,  for  about  three  years, 
the  "  sparring  "  in  the  two  papers  went  on, 
never  abating  in  severity  or  intensity  of  ex- 
pression from  the  first  day,  until  all  that 
could  be  said  mean  of  the  two  places  was 
blown  upon  every  wind,  and,  upon  the  prin- 
ciple of  the  dropping  water  wearing  away 
the  hardest  stone,  so  these  persistent  lam- 
poons had,  doubtless,  their  effect  upon  the 
minds  of  the  outside  world.  Then,  to  those 
who  visited  and  saw  the  town,  there  was 
that  unfinished,  half-commenced  hole  dug 
here,  and  half-formed  moiinds  thrown  up 
there,  that  made  up  its  quota  of  reasons  for 
assisting  any  rising  prejudices  in  the  mind 
of  the  beholder,  that  also  aided  in  creating 
prejudices  against  the  place.  Then,  there 
was  still  another  reason  for  the  bad  reputa- 
tion of  Cairo,  that  is  so  curious,  so  extraor- 
dinary, that,  were  it  not  vouched  for  by  the 
best  of  authority  that  was  here,  and  knew 
whereof  it  affirms,  we  could  not  believe  it, 
and  would  give  it  no  notice  in  these  columns. 
We  again  refer  to  M.  B.  Harrell,  as  authority 
on  this  matter,  only  premising  that  in  much 
of  the  practical  jokes  he  was  nearly  always 
in  the  thickest  of  the  fray: 

"  Cairo  then,  and  up  to  a  much  later 
period,  unjustly  bore  a  hard  reputation. 
Stories  of  fiendish  murders  and  robberies  of 
travelers  stopping  in  the   place    were  so  cur- 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


41 


rent  over  the  country  that  the  poor  Cairoite 
who  would  attempt  to  contradict  or  correct 
them  was  laughed  and  derided  into  painful 
silence.  Knowing  they  could  not  refute  such 
a  general  and  well-settled  impression,  they 
'  turned  tack,'  and  whenever  they  saw  travel- 
ers exhibiting  foolish  appi'ehensions  of  per- 
sonal danger,  they  would  at  once  set  about 
operating  upon  them.  '  just,'  as  they  would 
say,  '  to  get  even  with  them.'  For  instance: 
"  Two  consumate  dandies  [being  '  dan- 
dies,' it  seems,  was  the  great  crime  they  were 
guilty  of]  fi'om  Pittsburgh,  stopped  upon  one 
of  the  wharf-boats,  to  await  a  passage  to 
New  Orleans,  they  having  arrived  on  a  boat 
that  was  bound  for  St.  Louis.  At  once  it 
became  evident  that  these  young  men  had 
been  fed  upoa  stories  of  Cairo  horrors;  but 
they  tried  fo  show,  nevertheless,  that  they 
could  not  be  scared  by  anything,  however 
dreadful.  Both  had  revolvers  and  bowie- 
knives,  but  that  they  were  unused  to  them 
could  be  told  by  the  practiced  eye  of  a 
Cairoite.  These  weapons  were  freely  ex- 
hibited, and  always  worn  so  as  partly  to  be 
seen  while  concealed  about  their  persons. 
Diligently  did  these  young  men  try  to  im- 
press it  upon  the  people  that  they  would  be 
'ugly  customers'  in  a  hand-to-hand  encoun- 
ter.. To  show  that  they  were  familiar  with 
rough  life,  they  would  swear  voluminously, 
and  occasionally  they  would  drink  brandy, 
etc.,  etc."  These  were  hue  subjects  for  vic- 
tims, and  the  hoodlums  of  tho  village 
gathered  about  them  in  full  force,  and  then 
hours  of  confidential  talk  among  them  would 
occur — care  being  taken  that  the  intended 
victims  should  overhear  every  word,  about  as 
follows : 

"I'll  be ,  Tom,"  remarked  a  rough- 
looking  customer,  as  he  slammed  down  an 
empty  boot  box  beside  the  counter,  "I  hain't 
had   nothin'    as   has    sot   so   hard   onto   mv 


feelio's  as  the  killia' of  that  boy,  sense  the 
day  I  hit  my  old  woman  in  the  breast  with 
the  hatchet.     He  was  a   smart  boy,  and,  by 

,  you  know  he  was;  and  just  to  think  I 

could  git  mad  enough  at  him,  cos  he  failed 
to  lift  the  stranger's  wallet,  to  smash  his 
skull  with  a  oar,  is  positive  distressin'.  But 
I'll  tell  ye,  Tom — give  us  a  drink — that  boy 
"Waxey  shall  be  buried  right.  The  human 
left  into  me  will  see  to  that.  The  cat-fish 
fed  onto  the  old  woman,  but  d — n  the  bite 
shall  they  git  of  "Waxey.  And  now,  Tom, 
have  you  a  longer  box  than  this?  Waxey  is 
five  feet  long,  and  this  is  only  four.  Hain't 
got  none,  hey?  "Well,  'tis  little  'gainst  a 
father's  feelin's,  but  this  box  must  coffin 
him.  I  couldn't  do  no  better,  Tom,  and  you 
know  it,  so  I'll  go  home  now  and  saw  off  his 
legs!" 

Taking  another  di'ink,  the  distressed  fa- 
ther (?)  shouldered  the  box,  and  left  the 
wharf-boat,  chuckling  at  the  efitect  his  story 
had  produced  upon  the  strangers. 

And  now  night  had  gathered  around,  and 
the  usual  crowd  collected  at  Louis'  bar-room, 
which,  it  must  be  known,  was  in  the  store 
and  adjoining  the  depository  for  baggage. 
The  strangers  continued  guard  over  their 
baggage,  and  viewed,  with  trembling,  the 
growing  multitude.  Drinking  followed  the 
arrival  of  each  character,  and  after  several 
glasses  had  been  emptied,  the  following  con- 
versation ensued,  and  all  for  the  strangers' 
benefit,  and  so  arranged  that  they  could  hear 
every  word  of  it : 

"Well.  Boggie,  if  ever  thar  war  a  nicer 
time'n  last  night,  I'm  not  posted.  Them  two 
strangers  what  we  hornswoggled  with  us,  and 
who  danced  with  Spike-foot,  ain't  now  'sash- 
aying' around  here  much.  But  now,  Boggie, 
them  men  fought  tigerish,  I  tell  you!  I 
didn't  know,  till  Bob,  here,  told  me,  that  we 
were  a-goin'  to  mince  'em.     I  didn't,   now. 


42 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


darned  ef  I  did!  And  of  course,  jest  as  soon 
as  he  told  me  that  we  war  a-goin'  to  mince 
'em,  why,  I  stabbed  the  old  one  right  in  the 
small  of  the  back,  like.  3e  had  floored 
Wash  Wiggins,  and  I  guess  was  a-chokin'  of 
Wash,  but  when  he  felt  my  knife  ronch 
against  his  spinal  bone,  why,  it  diverted  his 
attention.  He  cum  at  me  savage;  struck  out 
thickly,  and  kep'  me  clear  out  of  reach  of 
him;  but  Dave,  who  had  got  a  swingle- tree, 
seein'  how  matters  was,  dropped  it  on  the  old 
one's  cranium,  and  a  groan,  a  gurgle  and  a 
little  splash  of  brains  was  all  there  was  that 
followed.  The  old  man  dropped,  and  I, 
thinkin'  he  might  revive  and  suffer,  separ- 
ated his  jugular  and  let  him  bleed  some. 
But  the  other,  I  tell  you  he  was  a  snorter! 
He  knocked  Clark  Ogden  clean  through  the 
winder,  followed,  and  before  anybody  knowed 
it,  dressed  him  off  confounded  handsome. 
As  we  all  had  nothin'  to  do, then,  but  to  make 
way  with  this  chicken,  we  at  once  set  about 
it.  His  first  cut  I  give  him;  the  next  punch 
you  made,  and  then  he  cut  dirt  and  humped 
himself.  Zofe,  there,  caught  him  near  the 
river,  but  havin'  no  weapons,  he  just  held 
him  and  hollered  until  weapons  was  forth- 
coming. The  swipe  that  let  out  his  innards 
would  'a  saved  him;  but  Dave,  you  know, 
stabbed  him  six  times  afterward,  all  over  the 
breast  and  body.  He  fell  then,  and  right  thar 
I  saw  him  lyin'  not  more'n  an  hour  ago. 
Take  the  scrape  altogether,  Boggie,"  con- 
tinued the  speaker,  casting  a  meaning  glance 
at  the  strangers,  "  I  think  it  just  about  as  in 
terestin'  as  any  we'  11  have  'tween  this  and  the 
mornin'." 

Such  was  the  substance  of  the  rigmarole 
intended  to  directly  affect  the  strangers,  and 
it  is  easy  enough  to  believe  the  assertion  that 
they  believed  every  word  they  heard;  and 
the  further  fact  that  they  had  seen  one  of  the 
desperate     men     steal    a  pocket-book   from 


another's  pocket  (a  pre-arranged  affair,  too), 
all  combined,  left  the  two  young  men  ap- 
palled with  horror.  Even  this  devil-may-care 
crowd  noticed,  from  the  actions  of  the  young 
men,  that  they  had  probably  carried  the  joke 
too  far,  and  there  was  danger  of  them  pluQg- 
ing  into  the  river  in  order  to  avoid  the  worse 
fate  they  felt  certain  was  in  store  for  them. 
It  was  about  decided  to  explain  the  joke  to 
them,  but  it  was  dangerous  to  approach  thera 
to  attempt  an  explanation,  as  such  an  ap- 
proach would  be  a  signal  for  them  to  jump 
into  the  waters.  Fortunately,  at  this  moment 
a  boat  approached  and  touched  at  the  land- 
ing, and  instantly  the  two  young  men 
boarded  her,  and  hid  themselves  in  the  cabin 
until  the  boat  pulled  out.  The  vessel  was  on 
its  way  to  St.  Louis,  and  they  were  going  to 
New  Orleans,  but  so  intense  was  their  alarm 
that  they  would  have  taken  a  boat  for  any 
point  in    the  world  to  get    away  from  Cairo. 

It  is  said  that  a  short  time  after  this,  a 
Pittsburgh  paper  reached  Cairo,  in  which  was 
a  letter,  dated  from  St.  Louis,  describing, 
with  shocking  details,  the  bloody  murders  at 
Cairo,  which  we  have  given  above,  the 
writers  not  only  attesting  that  they  saw  them 
committed,  but  they  had  shot  dead  two  of  the 
murderers  themselves,  in  a  perilous  effort  to 
stay  the  butcheries.  The  story  of  the  boy 
corpse  and  the  short  boot  box  went  the  rounds 
of  the  papers  of  the  country,  and  in  seven- 
leagued  boots,  the  Cairo  horrors  traveled 
about  the  world. « 

We  have  given  an  account  of  this  in- 
stance pretty  fiilly.  It  was  only  one  among 
hundreds,  until  the  horrible  stories  from 
Cairo  had  been  familiarized  pretty  much  over 
the  civilized  world.  The  Cairo  people  did 
all  this,  they  said,  in  revenge  for  the  many 
gross  falsehoods  that  had  been  circulated 
about  them  and  their  town.  It  was  a  unique 
mode  of  revenge,  and  was  of  doubtful  virtue, 


/ 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


45 


for  the  outside  world  only  too  readily  be- 
lieved all  tliey  thus  saw,  but  more,  too,  and 
it  soon  fixed  itself  in  the  minds  of  men  as  a 
shocking  reality.  Here  was  another  cause 
of  the  blighted  reputation  of  the  place. 
Add  this  to  the  causes  recited  above,  and 
when  tney  are  combined  it  is  wonderful  that 
all  men  did  not  shun  the  place  as  they 
would  the  lepers'  grounds.  There  is  but  one 
strong  reason  why  they  did  not.  Cairo  was 
the  one  gateway  between  the  North  and  the 
South,  and  through  here  all  must  pass  in 
nearly  all  communications  between  these  two 
regions.  This  forced  men  to  come.  Even 
the  timid  and  trembling  were  compelled 
thus  to  face  the  fearful  imaginary  dangers  of 
the  place,  and  when  thus  forced  into  the 
town,  they  were  like  the  boy  who  finally 
saw  the  preacher,  and  remarked  to  his  mother, 
in  disgust,  "Why,  he's  nothin'  but  a  man;" 
so  the  Cairo  people  were  found  by  these  com- 
pulsory visitors  to  be  nothing  but  human 
beings;  as  quiet,  civil,  well-behaved  and 
honest  as  any  people  in  the  world.  But 
while  a  slander  flies  upon  tireless  wings. 
truth  crawls  in  gyves  and  hobbles,  and  while 
it  is  true  that  "  when  crushed  to  earth  will 
rise  again,"  yet  there  is  no  day  nor  horn- 
fixed  for  the  "  rising  "  to  be  done,  and  as 
" the  eternal  years  are  hers,"  she  generally 
takes  up  the  most  of  them  in  running  down 
a  lie  and  putting  the  truth  triumphantly  in 
its  place. 

[j  t,The  only  school  taught  here  between  1842 
and  1848  was  a  pay  school,  and  only  for  a 
few  months,  by  Mrs.  Peplow.  In  1848,  a 
Sabbath  school  was  started.  It  was  held  in 
the  Cairo  Chapel — an  up-stairs  room  in  the 
Holbrook  House — but  after  a  few  weeks  of 
meager  attendance  and  listless  interests  it 
permanently  closed  up  for  repairs  and  the 
want  of  patronage.    On  the  4th  of  July,  1848, 


under  the  auspices  of  Mrs.  Peplow's  school, 
the  town  held  its  first  national  celebration. 
Dr.  C.  L.  Lind  was  the  Orator  of  the  Day, 
and  Bailey  S.  Harrell  read  the  Declaration  of 
Independence. 

This  year,  too,  came  the  singing-master — 
the  king  of  the  tuniag-fork,  who  could  read 
the  "  square  notes,"  and  who  was  born  with 
a  hawk-nose,  chewing  plug  tobacco,  and  had 
been  forever  trying  to  marry  the  belle  sun- 
flower of  every  school  he  had  taught  or  at- 
tended. This  particular  one  is  described  as 
a  "  cadaverous,  bacon-colored  old  curmudy- 
oen  named  Winchester. "  He  left  the  town 
in  great  disgust,  so  complete  was  his  at- 
tempted school  a  failure,  and  it  is  supposed 
Cairo  survived  this  calamity  with  greater 
equanimity  than  any  of  her  other  inflictions; 
we  have  no  hesitation  in  calling  his  depart- 
ure a  calamity,  because  from  the  above  de- 
scription it  will  be  seen  he  had  many  of  the 
ear-marks  of  a  gi'eat  and  good  singing-school 
master,  and  yet  he  could  not  sing  his  "squai-e 
notes"  in  Cairo.  His  experience  here  may 
have  given  rise  to  the  little  legend,  "I'm  sad- 
dest when  I  sing." 

About  the  only  relief  to  the  monotony  of 
Cairo  life  began  to  come  as  early  as  1848,  in 
the  promised  revival  of  the  building  of  the 
Illinois  Central  Railroad.  The  subject  was 
stirred  more  or  less  at  every  session  of  the 
Legislatm-e,  and  when  the  news  would  reach 
Cairo  of  what  was  being  done,  a  tremor  of 
excitement  would  pass  around,  and  the  wisest 
heads  would  say,  "Wait  till  next  spring,  and 
the  engineers  will  then  be  along."  There 
seemed  to  be  no  question  of  the  great  work 
being  ultimately  done.  On  this  point  there 
was  neither  dispute  nor  argument,  but  all 
questioning  turned  upon  the  one  pivot, 
When  ?  And  here  the  Cairoites  centered  their 
future  hopes.      But  year  by  year   came  and 

3 


46 


HISTOKY  OF  CAIRO. 


went,  and  no  engineers  showed  themselves, 
and  the  hopes  and  fears  of  the  people  would 
rise  and  fall  with  the  seasons. 

In  the  meantime,  Cairo  grew  a  little — just 
a  little  more  than  the  natural  increase  of 
population.  The  few  there  were  here  found, 
eventually,  plenty  to  do,  and  the  steamboat 
trade  had  gradually  gi'own  to  be  of  the  great- 
est importance.  In  the  winter  season,  par- 
ticularly when  navigation  on  the  upper  rivers 
would  be  stopped  by  the  ice,  the  people  of 
Cairo  would  find  themselves  overwhelmed 
by  people,  suddenly  stopped  on  their  way, 
until  all  houses  would  be  filled  to  overflow- 
ing, and  often  hundreds  of  them  woald  go 
into  camp,  and  be  'compelled  to  wait  for 
weeks  for  the  breaking- up  of  the  ice  and  to 
resume  their  journey.  Often  a  boat  would 
thus  land  and  parties  would  hire  rigs  and 
thus  go  on  to  St.  Louis.  Sometimes  others 
would  purchase  saddle-horses,  or  a  wagon  and 
team,  and  depend  upon  selling  for  what  they 
could  get  when  at  the  end  of  their  journey. 
The  boats  going  and  coming  soon  got  so  they 
all  touched  at  this  point,  and  in  those  days 
there  were  great  numbers  of  people  travel- 
ing on  deck,  and  these  would  rush  ashore  in 
great  cx'owds  for  supplies  at  the  baker's, 
butcher's  and  at  the  boat  stores. 

Grp,dually,  too,  Cairo  came  to  be  quite 
a  re-shipping  point  for  St.  Louis,  and  Louis- 
ville, Cincinnati  and  Pittsburgh  freights,  and 
this  gave  abundant  and  profitable  business 
to  the  wharf -boats.  In  these  and  a  hundred 
ways,  business  thrived,  and   money  was  dis- 


tributed among  the  people  sometimes  in 
plentiful  abundance,  and  there]  were  hard- 
working, attentive  business  men  among  them, 
and  all  such  not  only  made  a  living,  but 
generally  were  on  the  highway  to  independ- 
ence and  wealth.  The  social  life  of  the 
place  was  much  like  that  of  the  average 
small  river  towns,  except  the  wags  and  prac- 
tical jokers  noticed  elsewhere,  and  with  this 
further  and  marked  exception,  they  were  a 
big,  warm-hearted,  hospitable,  independent, 
and  a  mind-youi'-own-business  kind  of  peo- 
ple. Perhaps  no  community  was  ever  more 
wholly  free  from  that  tea-table,  back-biting 
species  of  gossip  and  slander,  and  prying 
into  other  people's  private  aflairs,  than  were 
the  people  of  Cairo.  They  were  a  just,  gen- 
erous and  true  people,  and  so  marked  was 
this  characteristic  from  the  first,  that  they 
have  left  their  impress  in  these  respects,  ap- 
parently, upon  the  town.  The  first  comers 
are  nearly  all  gone,  the  descendants  of  only 
a  few  remain;  and  yet,  whosoever  knows  the 
people  of  Cairo  well,  may  count  as  his  friend 
many  as  true  people  as  were  ever  got 
together  before  in  the  same  sized  "commu- 
nity. 

This  concludes  the  second  natural  division 
in  the  eras  of  Cairo's  history,  to  wit,  the 
decade  between  the  collapse  of  the  Cairo  City 
&  Canal  Company  and  the  revival  of  the 
prospects  of  Cairo  by  the  actual  commence- 
ment of  work  on  the  Central  Railroad,  and, 
therefore,  is  an  appropriate  ending  of  the 
chapter. 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


47 


CHAPTER  III. 


Cairo  platted— first  sale  of  lots— the  foundation  of  a  city  laid— beginning  of 

WORK  ON  the  central  RAILROAD— S.  STAATS  TAYLOR  — CITY  GOVERNMENT  ORGANIZED 

AND  WHO  WERE  ITS  OFFICERS  — INCREASE  OF    POPULATION  — THE   WAR— SOLDIERS 

IN  CAIRO— BATTLE  OF  BELMONT— WAIF  OF  THE  BATTLE-FIELD— "  OLD  RUBE" 

—  RILLING    OF    SPENCER  — OVERFLOW    OF     08- WASH     GRAHAM     AND 

GEN.  GRANT  — A  FEW  MORE  PRACTICAL    JOKES,    ETC,  ETC. 


IN  the  preceding  chapter.s  we  have  traced  the 
efforts  to  found  and  build  a  city  here,  and 
the  social  and  business  life  of  the  people,  as  best 
we  could,  down  to  the  year  1852.  We  found 
that  from  1841  to  1851 — more  properly  to  1853 
— was  the  long  period  of  stagnation,  marked 
only  by  the  natural  decay  of  time,  and  the 
small  damages  that  it  was  possible  to  accrue  to 
the  place  from  a  succession  of  high  waters  in 
the  rivers.  Miserable  little  levees,  about  eight 
feet  high,  girdled  about  the  town,  winding  with 
the  bends  of  the  stream,  or  jogged  into  short 
angles,  in  the  language  of  a  Mound  City  paper 
of  the  earl}-  times,  the  "  broken  ribs"  levee. 
From  the  first  attempted  founding  of  the  cit}' 
by  the  Cairo  Cit}-  &  Canal  Company  down 
to  1851,  the  company  clung  pertinaciously  to 
Holbrook's  first  idea  of  never  selling  a  foot  of 
the  land — only  leasing  upon  the  most  rigid 
and  arbitrary  terms.  The  agent  and  attor- 
ney-in-fact of  the  propeil}'  trustees,  S.  Staats 
Taylor,  Esq.,  arrived  in  Cairo,  September,  1851. 
He  came  with  instructions  and  the  power  to 
inaugurate  some  new  and  healthy  ideas  for  the 
compan}^  and  for  the  good  of  the  people  and 
the  town.  But  his  first  and  most  difficult  task 
was  to  obtain  peaceable  possession  of  the  com- 
pany's property.  The  residents  had  much  of 
it  in  possession,  and  so  long  had  they  occupied 
it  without  landlord,  rents  or  taxes  that  they 
felt  encouraged  to  treat  the  company's  preten- 
sions to  ownership  with  indifference  and  con- 
tempt.    Then,  other  parties  from  the  outside 


had  noticed  the  apparent  abandonment  of  the 
place  by  the  company  in  1841,  and  they 
pounced  upon  the  rich  flotsam  like  buzzards 
upon  a  dead  carcass,  and  bj-  all  manner  of 
Sheriffs  titles,  tax  deeds,  and  even  bogus 
deeds,  attempted  to  secure  both  possession  and 
title,  some  to  the  whole  and  some  to  large  por- 
tions of  the  land  within  the  city  limits.  One 
instance,  called  the  ■'  Holmes  claim,"  may 
serve  as  an  illustration  of  some  of  the  many 
difficulties  that  the  company  encountered  in 
regaining  what  they  had  apparently  aban- 
doned. The  company  had  acquired  title  to  a 
large  portion  of  the  southern  part  of  the  city 
by  purchase  from  the  heirs  of  Gov.  Bond. 
These  heirs  had  made  separate  deeds,  one  of 
them,  Elizabeth  Bond,  had  executed  her  j)rop- 
er  deed  to  her  interests  in  the  land  and  this 
deed  Holbrook  had  carelessly  carried  in  his 
pocket  and  neglected  to  put  it  upon  the  record, 
until,  in  the  course  of  time,  it  was  mislaid  and 
forgotten.  Holmes  was  a  brother-in-law  of 
Miss  Bond,  and  in  some  way  he  ascertained 
p]lizal)elh's  deed  was  not  on  record.  He  went 
to  Thebes,  then  the  count}'  seat,  examined 
the  records,  and,  being  dul}-  prepared,  at  once 
placed  a  deed  upon  record  from  Elizabeth 
Bond  to  himself,  conve3'ing  all  her  right,  title 
and  interest  in  Cairo.  This  conveyance  in- 
cluded about  one  hundred  acres  in  the  south- 
west portion  of  the  city.  The  corapaii}-  ap- 
pealed to  the  courts  ;  the  case  went  into  the 
United   States  Court,  and  there  it  stayed   for 


48 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


twenty-three  years  before  being  finally  adjudi- 
cated and  settled.  Five  different  trials  before 
juries  resulted  in  three  verdicts  in  favor  of  the 
compan3\  and  two  in  favor  of  Holmes — as  the 
boys  would  sa\-,  "  the  best  three  in  five." 
There  was  no  question  but  the  chain  in  the  re- 
cord-title was  with  Holmes,  but  the  compau}' 
based  their  claim  and  relied  wholl}'  upon  color 
of  title  and  seven  years'  possession  and  the 
payment  of  taxes.-  Upon  this  claim  the  Su- 
preme Court  of  the  United  States  gave  the 
company  the  land  and  settled  the  question  for- 
ever. 

As  said,  1851  dawned  a  new  era  upon  Cairo. 
It  came  to  be  known  that  the  law  had  passed 
the  Congress  of  the  United  States  that  would 
at  last  secure  the  building  of  the  Illinois  Cen- 
tral Eailroad,  and  this  was  cheering  news  to  the 
good  people  of  the  town,  and  of  the  whole 
State.  In  1851,  the  advance  guard — the  en- 
gineers— put  in  their  cheerful  appearance,  and 
bright  and  early  one  morning  a  squad  of  them 
were  to  be  seen  trimming  out  a  passage  wa}' 
in  the  bush  and  undergrowth  and  hoisting  flag- 
poles here  and  there,  and  peeping  knowingh' 
through  instruments,  and  the  children  shouted 
to  each  other  that  the  railroad  had  come  at 
last.  The  almost  expiring  hopes  of  the  older 
people  were  revived  to  the  highest  pitch  once 
more.  Yet  the  onward  move  of  the  towu  itself 
loitered,  and,  until  1854,  there  was  no  change 
among  the  residents,  and  but  few  accessions  to 
the  population  or  improvements  of  the  town. 
The  causes  for  this  were  the  difficulties  about 
the  possession  and  titles  above  noticed.  Here 
were  three  years  in  the  historical  life  of  the 
city  that  may  be  briefl}-  passed  over,  the  real 
history-,  if  any,  that  was  made  during  that 
time,  was  exclusively  concerning  the  Central 
Railroad,  and  will  be  found  in  the  chapter  giv- 
ing an  account  of  that  enterprise. 

Mose  Harrell,  in  his  sketch  of  Cairo,  justly, 
we  think,  insists  that  for  the  ••'real  commence- 
ment of  Cairo  we  are  not  authorized  to  go  be- 


hind that  period "  (1854).  The  many  years 
consumed  by  monopolies  in  futile  attempts  to 
build  up  fhe  place,  and  the  greater  number  of 
years  of  non-action,  cannot  be  fairl}-  added  to 
the  real  age  of  the  place,  as  during  the  whole 
of  that  time  public  capital  and  energ\-  were 
not  onlj'  not  invited  to  come  to  Cairo,  but  ab- 
solutely forbidden  an}-  kind  of  foothold  what- 
ever. Fairness,  then,  will  fix  the  birth  of  the 
cit}'  at  that  exact  period  when  it  became 
possible  and  allowable  for  those  essential  ele- 
ments of  prosperity  to  take  hold  of  the  under- 
taking, and  to  operate  without  fetter  or  tram- 
mel— and  not  before  that  period. 

The  Agent,  Mr.  Taylor,  had  finally  got  such 
sufficient  possession  of  the  property,  and  had 
platted  and  laid  oft'  the  town  anew,  that  on  the 
4th  day  of  September,  1854,  the  lots  were  of- 
fered for  sale.  On  the  morning  of  that  day, 
Peter  Stapleton  purchased  the  lot  on  the  cor- 
ner of  Third  street  and  Commercial  avenue, 
where  he  at  once  erected  a  substantial  and  per- 
manent residence  and  business  house.  This 
was  the  first  sale  ever  made  of  a  lot  in  Cairo  ; 
it  was  the  first  step  in  the  real  cit}'  building 
that  has  gone  on  steadily  from  that  day  to  the 
present  time.  The  price  paid  for  the  lot  was 
SI, 250,  not  far  from  what  the  unimproved  lot 
would  be  rated  at  now.  This  purchase  was 
soon  followed  by  others,  including  Mrs.  Can- 
dee,  John  Howlev.  M.  B.  Harrell  and  the 
grounds  on  which  were  erected  the  Taylor 
House  (burned  down  with  several  other  build- 
ings in  i8G0).  The  people  were  now  buying 
the  lots  and  building  up  the  town,  and  it  was 
no  longer  Holbrook  and  his  iron-cast  monopo- 
h" ;  and  now  the  good  work  went  on  with  ra- 
pidity, and  within  a  year  from  the  day  that 
Stapleton  purchased  his  lot,  so  actively  had 
the  work  gone  on.  that  a  large  number  of  build- 
ings were  erected  and  in  the  course  of  erection. 
and  the  streets  and  avenues  come  to  be  well 
defined  by  the  buildings  that  reared  their  fronts 
alons:   the  streets  and    at    the   corners.     But 


HISTORY    OF   CAIRO. 


49 


at  this  time  no  improvements  had  been  erected 
on  the  Ohio  levee.  The  company  saw  proper 
to  put  restrictions  hei'e,  and  would  onlj-  stipu- 
late that  no  other  building  except  brick,  iron 
or  stone  should  be  built  thereon.  All  these 
front  lots  wei'e  regarded  as  the  valuable  ones 
of  the  town.  Williams'  brick  block  had  been 
put  up  on  the  levee,  and  it  stood  alone  until 
quite  an  amount  of  buildings  had  been  placed 
on  Third  and  Fourth  streets  and  Commercial 
avenue.  Time  soon  demonstrated  the  foolish- 
ness of  these  restrictions,  as  few  purchasers,  be- 
fore becoming  acquainted  with  the  city,  its  busi- 
ness, the  character  and  permanency  of  its  pro- 
tective embankments,  the  health  of  the  people, 
etc.,  felt  disposed  to  erect  either  ver}'  fine  or 
expensive  buildings,  and  these  barriers  were 
brushed  away  and  the  lots  on  the  levee  put 
upon  sale  upon  the  same  terms  as  the  others 
of  the  town. 

Then  came  the-  hosts  of  eager  purchasers,  in 
response  to  the  word  that  went  out  that  lots  in 
Cairo  were  upon  the  market  without  restric- 
tions, and  upon  terms  that  were  regarded  as 
just  and  liberal.  Another  proof,  were  an}- 
proof  needed,  that  no  man  in  New  York, 
Philadelphia,  or  London  can  manage  and  build 
a  great  city  either  out  here  in  Cairo  or  any- 
where  else,  where  he  is  not  present  and  a  part 
of  the  community.  As  seen  by  the  purchase 
price  of  Stapleton's  lot,  the  property  was  gen- 
erall}'  placed  at  a  high  figure,  but  when  the 
property  on  the  levee  was  thrown,  unrestricted, 
upon  the  market,  the  figures  were  increased, 
and  were,  in  fact,  enormously  high  ;  yet  the 
sales  were  numerous,  the  most  buying  for 
improvement,  and  man}-  for  speculation,  even 
at  these  high  figures.  Then,  indeed,  came  the 
race  in  putting  up  buildings — the  wants  of 
builders  putting  to  the  test  the  numerous  saw 
mills  in  the  county,  and  calling  fi'om  abroad 
hosts  of  mechanics  and  laborers.  A  great  vari- 
ety'of  business  enterprises  were  inaugui'ated, 
business,   both   commercial    and    mechanical, 


grew  apace ;  drays  and  other  vehicles  rattled 
over  the  wharf  and  the  streets,  and  the  features 
of  a  young  and  thrifty  city  began  to  be  visible 
everywhere. 

In  another  part  of  this  work  we  have  given 
some  account  of  the  rather  loose  and  inefficient 
general  city  government  that  had  been  adopted 
by  the  people,  after  the  dethronement  of  the 
Czar  of  all  the  Cairos,  Holbrook.  and  the  tak- 
ing of  the  reins  of  government  into  the  hands 
of  the  few  people  left  here.  Early  in  1855,  so 
rapid  had  been  the  growth  of  the  place,  and  so 
apparent  the  gi'owing  necessit}',  that  the 
citizens  met  in  mass  convention,  in  the  Central 
Railroad  depot,  and  there  determined  that  until 
a  special  charter  could  be  obtained  from  the 
Legislature,  that  the  cit}^  should  be  incorpor- 
ated under  the  general  incorporation  laws. 

In  pursuance  of  this  determination,  the  fol- 
lowing were  chosen,  at  a  general  election. 
Trustees  for  the  ensuing  3'ear  :  S.  Staats  Tay- 
lor, John  Howley,  Peter  Stapletou,  Lewis  W. 
Young,  B.  Shannessy  and  M.  B.  Harrell. 

This  board,  at  once  proceeded  to  put  in  place 
the  wheels  and  pulleys  and  bauds  and  cogs  of 
an  elaborate  and  complete  general  government. 
It  enacted  voluminous  ordinances  and  fulmi- 
nated its  edicts.  The  quiet  and  health  of  the 
cit}-  was  their  one  ambition.  Mose  Harrell 
commenced  to  stud}-,  with  avidity,  the  laws  of 
hygiene  under  Shannessy,  and  John  Howley 
and  Stapletou  purchased  diagrams  and  charts 
of  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States,  with  a 
view,  perhaps,  of  settling,  by  a  great  com- 
promise, the  questions  that  were  agitating  the 
wharves  and  wharf-boats,  mails,  transfers,  etc. 
But  the  people,  from  some  inscrutable  cause, 
would  continue  to  look  upon  the  whole  proceed- 
ing as  a  "  good  joke,"  and  the  ordinances 
were  not  enforced — remained,  in  a  monumental 
way,  a  dead  letter  upon  the  journal  of  the 
board's  proceedings. 

On  iSIarch  9, 1856,  imperious  necessity  called 
out   another   eflfort   at  a    cit}'  Government — 


50 


HISTORY  OF   CAIRO. 


spelled  with  a  big  Gr — and  anotlier  electiou  was 
held,  when,  besides  a  Board  of  Trustees,  a 
Police  Magistrate  was  elected,  in  the  person  of 
Robert  E.  Yost,  Esq.  At  the  first  meeting  of 
the  board,  Thomas  Wilson,  Esq.,  was  made 
President ;  James  Kenedy,  Marshal  ;  Isaac  L. 
Harrell,  Clerk;  George  D.  Gordon,  Wharf- 
master,  and  all  other  matters  closely  scru- 
tinized, to  put  the  machinery  of  the  government 
into  successful  operation. 

But  again,  this  year,  there  was  not  a  great 
deal  of  government  in  active  play,  except  in 
the  matter  of  the  ordinance  department :  these 
were  ably  composed,  and  they  did  ''  sound  so 
grand  "  on  the  river's  bank,  but  with  the  ex- 
ception of  a  Marshal,  to  run  in  a  few  unfortu- 
nates before  the  Police  Magistrate — these  two 
officers  reporting,  as  their  year's  work,  the 
munificent  collection  of  fines,  etc.,  of  $355 — 
and  this  was  added  to  the  Wharfmaster's  year's 
report  of  $331.50  wharfage,  making  in  all,  for 
those  three  officers,  the  munificent  sum  of 
$686.50;  of  itself,  not  a  verj-  enormous  salaiy, 
but  then  there  were  the  honors,  which  may 
run  the  sum  total  into  the  thousands. 

In  addition  to  the  fines  and  wharfage,  the 
city  this  3-ear  derived,  from  grocer}-  and  other 
licenses,  $2,250.50  ;  from  taxes,  12,325.78. 

The  entire  real  and  personal  property  of 
the  citv  then  was  valued,  for  the  purpose  of 
taxation,  at  a  fraction  over  $450,000.  There 
were  twenty-eight  licensed  saloons  in  the  city, 
two  billiard  saloons,  and  nine  licensed  drays. 
The  records  tell  the  story  of  how  rapidly 
a  solid  and  flourishing  city  was  rising  out  of 
the  debris  of  the  wreck  of  1841,  when  the  City 
of  Cairo  &  Canal  Company  carried  all  down 
in  its  general  wreck  and  ruin.  The  music  of 
the  hammer  and  the  saw  was  heard  upon  every 
side,  and  to  all  these  was  added  the  cheering 
scream  of  the  locomotive  whistle,  and  the 
heyda}'  of  flush  times  once  more  began  to 
come  to  Cairo. 

Before     passing    again,     however,    to    the 


material  aflairs  of  the  cit}-,  we  choose  to  incor- 
porate here  the  details  of  the  most  notable 
occurrence  that  disturbed  the  quiet  or  marred 
the  dignity  of  Cairo.  This  was  the  mobbing 
of  the  desperate  negro,  Joseph  Spencer,  which 
took  place  in  the  autumn  of  the  year  1855.  A 
citizen  of  Cairo,  George  D.  Gordon,  we  believe, 
had  instituted  legal  proceedings  against  the 
negro  for  trespass,  and  a  writ  had  been  issued 
for  his  apprehension.  It  was  served  upon  him 
and  he  informed  the  officer  that  he  would  be  at 
the  Justice's  office  in  a  few  minutes.  Instead 
of  quietl}-  submitting  himself  to  the  law,  like  a 
rational  being,  he  procured  a  keg  of  powder, 
and  with  this  under  his  arm  he  repaired  to  the 
court  of  justice.  This  office  was  in  a  room  on 
the  first  floor  of  the  Cairo  Hotel,  the  upper  rooms 
being  occupied  by  guests,  including  many 
women  and  children.  Arrived  at  the  Squire's 
office,  and  seating  himself  upon  the  keg,  and 
immersing  the  muzzle  of  a  cocked  pistol  far 
into  the  powder,  the  audacious  negro  dictated 
his  own  terms  to  the  officer,  which  were,  that 
judgment  should  be  instantly  pronounced  in 
his  favor,  and  the  suit  thrown  out  of  court,  or 
he  would  "  fire,  and  blow  to  h — 11  the  building 
and  every  one  in  it !  "  It  was  evident,  from 
his  wicked  eye  that  he  would  do  as  he  said, 
and  scores  of  unsuspecting  persons  in  the 
rooms  above  would  have  been  blown  to  atoms. 
The  hangers-on  in  the  court  room,  as  well  as 
the  officers  present,  adjourned  themselves  out 
of  the  doors  and  windows  in  rapid  confusion. 
Word  of  this  infernal  outrage  being  generally 
circulated,  a  lai'ge  number  of  citizens  and 
strangers  gathered,  and  determined  that,  at 
least,  such  a  dangerous  character  should  at 
once  leave  the  city.  The  negro  had  a  hotel 
wharf-boat  moored  to  the  shore,  where  he  kept 
a  tavern  of  no  mean  pretensions,  and  where 
many  of  the  sojourners  here  in  their  travels 
have  stopped  and  been  entertained.  But  the 
reputation  of  the  place  was  becoming  infamous, 
and  circumstances   had  caused  manv  to   sus- 


HISTORY   OF   CAIRO. 


51 


pect  that  in  the  name  of  caring  for  travelers, 
crimes  of  the  deepest  cast  had  long  been  going 
on  in  Spencer's  boat.  Strangers  had  been 
known  to  repeatedl}'  stop  there  and  were  never 
seen  or  heard  of  again  after  going  to  bed.  The 
bedrooms  ran  along  the  building  on  either 
side,  with  a  hallway  in  the  center,  and  it  was  1 
ascertained  that  under  each  bed,  in  every  room, 
was  a  trap-door,  with  the  cai'pet  so  neatly  fitted 
over  this  that  it  could  not  be  discovered  with-  i 
out  the  closest  inspection,  and  by  this  arrange- 
ment a  person  could  enter,  from  the  hull  below, 
and  pass  from  one  room  to  the  other  without 
ever  going  in  or  out  at  a  room  door. 

Spencer  was  waited  upon  b}'  a  few  represent- 
ative citizens  and  informed  of  the  determination 
of  the  people,  and  at  the  same  time  he  was  as- 
sured that  he  should  be  safely  conve3^ed  across 
the  river.  The  negro  consented  to  this,  pro- 
vided one  or  two  of  the  delegation,  whom  he 
named,  would  go  in  the  skiff  with  him,  and  to 
this  they  agreed.  In  the  meantime  a  great 
crowd  had  gathered  on  the  levee  above  Spen- 
cer's boat.  Some  parties  in  the  crowd,  when 
they  learned  that  these  men  were  going  to  cross 
the  river  with  the  negro,  went  to  them  and  ad- 
vised them  not  to  do  so,  and  thereupon  they 
declined  to  go,  and  then  Spencer  not  only  de- 
clined to  go,  but  mocked  and  defied  the  people 
he  had  so  signally  outraged.  An  hours  time 
was  given  him  for  preparation  to  leave — then 
another  hour  ;  but  instead  of  employing  the 
time  for  such  an  end,  he  used  it  in  preparing 
himself  for  resistance.  He  now  concealed  him- 
self in  his  boat  and  refused  to  have  intercourse 
with  any  one.  The  crowd  grew  greatly  incensed 
and  they  determined  to  force  the  negro  to  leave 
at  all  hazards.  They  made  a  rush  for  the  room 
where  he  was  concealed  and  forced  the  door, 
but  he  had  escaped  through  his  secret  trap- 
door as  they  entered.  The^'  were  soon  notified, 
however,  of  his  whereabouts,  by  the  report  of  his 
shot-gun  from  another  room,  the  charge  of  the 
gun  taking  effect  in  the  breast  and  shoulder  of 


one  of  the  party,  producing  a  wound  of  which  the 
man  died  some  time  after.   We  can  find  no  one 
now  able  to  recall  the  name  of  this  man,  he  being 
almost  an  entire  stranger.    He  was  a  river  man, 
and  either  a  pilot  or  engineer.     When  this  shot 
was  fired,  the  crowd  rushed  to  the  room  and 
broke  it  open,  but  the  room   was  vacant ;  and 
while  the  assailants  were  bewildered  about  the 
negro's  second  strange  disappearance,  the  re- 
port of  his   gun  was  again  heard.     This  shot 
wounded  the  well-known  citizen,  Ed  Willett,who 
was  innocently  on  board  the  boat,  not  joining  in 
the  assault,  but  endeavoring  to  save  the  furni- 
ture.    This  last  shot  enraged  the  people  in  an 
instant  into  a  fierce  mob  that  cried  aloud  for 
blood  and  that  now  nothing  else  would  appease. 
The  boat  was  torn  from  its  moorings  and  towed 
out  into  the  river,  and  in  full  view  of  at  least 
a  thousand  people  set  on  fire,  and  in  less  than 
thirty    minutes  burned    to   the    waters'  edge. 
But  while  this  work  was  in  progress  the  desper- 
ate and  now  doomed  negro  was  not  idle.     He 
evidently  felt  that  he  must  die,  but  seemed  de- 
termined  to  sell  his  life  dearly.     Upon  those 
who  towed  his  boat  into  the  stream,  upon  those 
who  applied  the  torch,  and  upon   those  who 
filled  the  scores  of  skiffs  which  dotted  the  Ohio 
River,  he  fired  repeated  rounds  and  scarcely  ever 
without  effect.     Exhausting  his  shot  or  projec- 
tiles, he  charged  his  piece  with   stone-coal  and 
fired  that  upon  his  assailants,   as  long  as  the 
eager  flames  allowed  him  to  resist  at  all.    And 
now  the  advancing  element  had  fully  shrouded 
the  upper  works  of  the  boat,  leaving  only  a  plat- 
form on  the  stern  to  be  enveloped.     Many  had 
concluded  the  wretched  creature  had   perished 
in  the  flames,  and  as  they  were  about   to  turn 
from    the   sickening  sight  there   was  a   crash 
of  glass  heard  in  the  great  bulk  of  flame.     In 
an  instant   afterward   Spencer   appeared  upon 
the  stern,  in  full  view  of  the  great  crowd,  and  of 
[  his  wife  upon  the  wharf-boat,  and,  looking  defi- 
antly at  all,  he  placed  his  hand  upon  his  breast 
,  and  leaped  headlong  into  what  he  then  must 


52 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


have  considered  the  '•  friendl}^  waters  of  the 
Ohio."  Long  and  anxiously  the  crowd  looked 
for  his  appearance  to  the  surface,  but  the  wa- 
ters had  closed  over  him  once  and  forever. 
Thus,  calling  destruction  on  his  own  head,  per- 
ished the  desperate  negro,  Joseph  Spencer. 

For  weeks  and  months  afterward  the  news- 
papers of  the  country  made  allusion  to  the  affair 
as  a  ''  characteristic  mob,"  giving  it  more  shapes 
than  Proteus,  every  writer  who  took  it  in  hand, 
molding  it  exactly  to  his  own  liking.  Mose 
Harrell,  who  was  an  eye  witness  to  the  whole 
sad  affair,  and  who  was  daily  receiving  in  his 
exchange  papers  from  all  over  the  couutr}^  at- 
tempted to  summarize  the  accounts  and  recon- 
cile them  all  into  one  straight,  consistent  story, 
and  here  is  the  remarkable  result : 

*'  Joseph  Spencer,  an  eminent  colored  divine, 
whose  desperate  character  made  him  the  terror 
of  the  community,  and  whose  deeds  of  blood 
and  acts  of  Christian  piety  gave  him  great  emi- 
nence, was  recently  killed  by  a  mob  in  Cairo 
under  the  following  justifiable  and  bloodthirsty 
circumstances  :  Mr.  Spencer,  while  conducting 
a  prayer  meeting  on  his  boat,  which  was  reek- 
ing in  the  blood  of  his  murdered  victims,  was 
shot  down  by  a  disguised  mob  of  well  known 
citizens,  who,  without  premeditation,  had  assem- 
bled shortly  after  dark  on  the  morning  of  the 
bloody  day  for  the  hellish  and  authorized  pur- 
pose. These  negro  drivers,  who  had  just 
arrived  on  a  Mississippi  steamer,  then  seized 
him  while  in  the  act  of  getting  down  to  a  game 
of  "  old  sledge"  with  a  distinguished  Method- 
ist minister  from  Cincinnati,  tied  him  to  a 
convenient  tree,  and  there  burned  him  until  the 
waters  of  the  Ohio  closed  over  him  forever. 
His  boat,"upon  which  he  remained  until  the  last 
moment,  was  then  towed  to  the  middle  of  the 
Ohio  River,  where  it  sunk  against  the  Ken- 
tucky shore,  b}'  applying  the  flaming  torch  to 
the  cabin. 

"  A  more  diabolical  and  fiendish  act  of  mer- 
ited punishment  never  disgraced  a  community 


of  incarnate  fiends  of  high  respectability  more 
signall}'  than  has  this  act  of  damnable  but 
richly  deserved  retribution  disgraced  all  con- 
cerned in  it,  not  excepting  the  victim  himself, 
who  was  seen  at  Memphis  receutlj^,  swearing 
vengeance  dire  against  his  sanctimonious  mur- 
derers." 

Thus,  from  Joe  Spencer  to  Eliza  Pinkston, 
the  "  bloody  shirt"  floated  in  ample  folds  all 
over  the  North,  while  the  "  mud-sills"  and  the 
"corner-stone  of  slavery,"  equally  ripened 
and  flourished  at  the  South.  And  of  a  nation's 
throes,  coming  of  these  infinitesimal  circum- 
stances, a  Lincoln's  fame  was  born,  and  the  way 
was  prepared  for  that  "  ambitious  3'outb  who 
fired  the  Ephesian  dome,"  to  assassinate  Lin- 
coln in  a  theater,  on  G-ood  Friday,  of  1865  ;  and 
the  hanging  of  an  innocent  woman  ;  and  the 
second  assassination  of  a  President,  and  the 
hanging  of  an  insane  man.  These  are  the  skele- 
ton, surface  results,  but  beneath  that  ghastly 
covering  who  will  ever  know,  who  can  ever  in  his 
wildest  imaginings  conceive  the  blighted  virtue, 
the  ruined  names,  the  crushed  hearts,  the 
ghastly  corpses,  the  unspeakable  agony  and 
woe,  that  ran  over  this  people  like  a  consum- 
ing conflagration  !  It  is  well  for  the  mental 
health  of  the  human  race  that  the  charity  of 
oblivion  rests  so  deeply  upon  the  sickening 
story  that  it  ma}'  never  be  told.  Joe  Spencer 
was  nothing  but  a  wretched,  desperate,  igno- 
rant and  brutal  negro,  whose  life  was  a  constant 
menace  to  all  with  whom  he  came  in  contact ; 
yet  the  century  had  been  preparing  the  way 
for  even  this  vile  wretch,  and  it  culminated  in 
his  self-sought  destruction  into  a  power  for 
evil  which  may  run  on  for  3'et  a  hundred  years. 
Nothing  is  clearer  than  that  it  was  the  right 
way,  the  high  and  solemn  duty  of  the  people 
of  Cairo  to  either  drive  off  or  kill  the  danger- 
ous, bad  negro.  They  should  have  done  this 
long  before  they  did,  and  if  it  was  necessary  to 
kill  him  in  order  to  get  rid  of  him,  he  was  en- 
titled to  no  more  considex-ation  than  a  snake 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


58 


or  a  rabid  clog.  But  when  he  could  stand  at 
bay  no  longei*,  he  placed  heav}-  irons  about  his 
neck  and  plunged  into  the  river,  with  his  dead- 
ly gun  in  his  hands,  and,  thus  prepared,  he 
fully  determined  never  to  rise  again,  but  his 
conjured  ghost  was  impressed  into  the  service 
of  aiding  in  the  bloody  preparations  for  the 
carnival  of  death  that  was  so  soon  to  follow 
after  his  destruction. 

In  a  preceding  chapter,  we  had  occasion  to 
notice  the  penchant,  the  genius  rather,  of  the 
young  men  of  Cairo,  that  was  so  fully  devel- 
oped in  those  dull  years  following  the  disper- 
sion of  the  people  here  in  1841.  So  ingi-ained 
had  this  become,  that  now,  when  the  flush 
times  again  came  to  Cairo,  and  work  and  busi- 
ness crowded  upon  them  from  every  side,  they 
would  steal  these  golden  moments  whenever 
opportunit}'  presented  itself  to  again  indulge 
in  their  favorite  pastime. 

The  Legislature  had  organized  a  Court  of 
Common  Pleas  for  Cairo,  and  appointed  Isham 
N.  Haynie,  Judge.  He  came  to  Cairo  to  hold 
his  first  term  of  court,  and  a  court  room  had 
been  secured  in  the  Springfield  Block.  He  had 
not  more  than  fairly  opened  the  session  when 
the  "  boys"  opened  a  similar  court  in  the  other 
end  of  the  block,  and  they  had  all  the  officials 
and  paraphernalia  of  a  most  August  court. 
The  officer  of  Judge  Haynie's  Court  would 
stick  his  head  out  of  the  window  and  call  a 
juror,  attorne}',  or  witness,  and  so  would  the 
official  at  the  moot  court,  only  the  bogus  one 
would  call  louder,  oftener,  and  a  greater  num- 
ber of  names,  and  the  bailiffs  were  flying 
around  the  streets  summoning  witnesses, 
jurors  and  parties  to  come  into  court  instan- 
ter.  The  bogus  grand  jury  held  prolonged 
sessions,  and  as  the  bailiffs  well  understood 
who  to  summon  as  witnesses,  and  as  the  jurors 
well  understood  what  questions  to  ask  such 
witnesses,  it  was  a  roaring  farce  from  morn 
till  night,  particularly  the  revelations  the}' 
drew  out  of  an  old  chap  whose  shebang  was 


down  on  the  point,  and  who  sold  ice  principal- 
1}'.  From  day  to  da^-  this  immense  burlesque 
went  on.  and  many  names  of  the  best  people 
began  to  be  compromised  ^dly.  Judge 
Haynie  finall}-  took  notice  of  the  matter,  and  a 
United  States  Marshal  making  his  appearance 
with  writs,  frightened  the  "  boys"  seriously, 
and,  in  fact  it  resulted  in  driving  several  of 
them  temporarily  out  of  town,  until  the  matter 
was  finally  fixed  up  in  some  wa}',  and  their 
thoughtless  acts  were  excused. 

A  more  innocent  and  comical  joke  was 
worked  ofl"  by  John  Q.  Harmon  and  Mose 
Harrell.  They  were  both  j'oung  fellows,  and 
Mose  was  clerking  in  his  brother's  store — a 
place  of  great  resort  for  the  old  fellows  who 
delighted  to  loaf,  and  chew  tobacco  and  "  swap 
lies,"  and  absorb  the  heat  of  the  stove  in  cold 
weather.  To  move  these  fellows  from  the 
warm  fire  and  clear  the  8tore-roon»  was  the 
project  set  about  by  these  boys.  Harmon  had 
got  a  suppl}'  of  sand  and  had  it  carefull}' 
wrapped  in  a  good  sized  bundle,  and  seeking 
the  time  when  the  loafers  were  thickest  about 
the  store,  he  walked  in  with  his  package  in  his 
hand.  He  addressed  Mose,  in  a  tone  that  all 
could  hear,  telling  him  he  was  going  hunting, 
that  he  had  all  the  powder  he  wanted,  display- 
ing his  three  or  four  pounds  of  sand,  and  went 
on  to  tell  Harrell  that  he  wanted  some  shot  and 
would  pay  for  it  in  a  few  days,  etc. 

"  No  sir  !"  said  Harrell,  "  if  3"0U  have  no 
money,  you  cannot  get  an}-  shot." 

"Well,"  says  Harmon,  "you  need  not  be  so 
short  about  it.     I'll  pay  3'ou  next  week." 

And  from  the  first  the  words  grew  more 
bitter  and  loud,  and  soon  the  two  quarrelers 
had  the  entire  attention  of  the  house.  In  the 
meantime,  Harmon  had  wedged  his  vra,y  close 
up  to  the  door  of  the  red-hot  stove,  when,  Lhe 
quarrel  going  on  still,  he  opened  the  stove 
door  and  bitterly  said :  "  Well,  if  I  can't  get 
any  shot,  I  don't  want  any  powder !"  and 
heaved   the   bundle   into   the   stove.     Such  a 


54 


HISTORY  OF   CAIRO. 


hurried  exit — some  of  them  not  taking  time  to 
rise  from  their  chairs  to  run,  but  tumbling 
backward  and  rolling  to  the  door,  and  all 
were  upon  the  streets  in  such  a  frightful  race 
to  get  awa}'  they  did  not  take  time  to  look 
back  at  the  building  which  every  instant  they 
expected  would  be  blown  sky  high,  until  the}' 
ran  so  far  they  were  fagged  out.  In  the 
meantim'e,  John  and  Mose  were  fairly  rolling 
over  the  floor  in  explosions  of  laughter.  It 
was  several  days  before  the  old  loafers  would 
venture  within  half  a  mile  of  Harrell's  store. 

During  the  winter  of  1857,  the  city  was 
specially  incorporated  by  the  Legislature,  *and 
on  the  9th  day  of  March  following  the  first 
Council,  under  the  charter,  met  for  organiza- 
tion and  business.  The  following  gentlemen 
formed  the  Council : 

Maj'or,  S.  Staats  Taylor ;  Aldermen,  Peter 
Stapletor^  Peter  Neff,  Patrick  Burke,  Roger 
Finn,  John  Howle}^,  Harry  Whitcamp,  C.  Os- 
terloh,  C.  A.  Whaley,  William  Standing,  Cor- 
nelius Manly,  Martin  Eagan  and  T.  N.  Graff- 
ney. 

As  the  city  officers  were  not  elected  by  the 
people  at  that  time,  the  Council  elected  John 
Q.  Harmon,  City  Clerk  ;  H.  H.  Candee,  Treas- 
urer ;  and  Thomas  Wilson,  Marshal. 

The  Board  of  Aldermen  disapproving  of  the 
work  of  their  predecessors,  by  a  simple  resolu- 
tion, wiped  from  the  books  every  general  and 
special  enactment  found  in  force,  leaving  no 
vestige  of  the  old  board's  wisdom  or  folly  in 
operation,  save  only  such  enactments  as  con- 
ferred rights  or  privileges  for  a  specified  time  or 
special  nature.  The  whole  city  government 
was  remodeled — an  entire  new  set  of  ordi- 
nances, relating /to  ever}'  legitimate  subject, 
being  framed  and  adopted.  They  assumed  all 
responsibility,  willing  to  take  the  credit  arising, 
or  the  shower  of  condemnation  following  the 
new  order  of  things.  The  charter  was  broad 
and  liberal  in  its  provisions,  and  under  it,  with 
ver}'   few   and    immaterial    amendments,    the 


usual  work  doubtless  of  "  governing  too  much" 
has  gone  on  smoothl}-^  ever  since. 

S.  Staats  Ta3'lor  filled  the  oflflce  of  Mayor  six 
times,  viz. :     During  1857-58-59-60  and    63. 

H.  Watson  Webb  was  Mayor  during  1862, 
being  elected  without  opposition.  J.  H.  Ober- 
ly  in  1869. 

In  1864,  David  J.  Baker,  one  of  the  present 
Judges  of  the  Circuit  Court,  wa,^  elected  Mayor. 

During  the  years  1857-58-59-60  and  61, 
John  Q.  Harmon  held  the  office  of  City  Clerk. 
He  was  succeeded  by  A.  H.  Irvin,  who  held  it 
seven  3'ears.  J.  P.  Fagan,  elected  1868  ;  Pat- 
rick Mockler,  1869  ;  Mockler  was  suspended 
and  T.  Nail}',  appointed  to  fill  out  his  term  ; 
John  Brown  was  then  elected.  N.  J.  Howley,  in 
1870,  held  it  four  terras  ;  1872,  W.  H.Hawkins; 
1875,  W.  K.  Ackley;  James  W.  Stewart,  1876; 
John  B.  Phillis,  1877  ;  D.  J.  Fpley,  1879  ;  re- 
elected in  1881,  and  again  in  1883. 

The  following  were  the  City  Treasurers  in  the 
order  in  which  they  are  named  :  H.  H.  Candee, 
Louis  Jorgensen,  John  H.  Brown,  B.  S.  Harrell, 
A.  C.  Holden,  Peter  Stapleton,  John  Howley, 
J.  B.  Taylor,  who  held  the  office  until  1872, 
and  was  succeeded  by  Robert  A.  Cunningham  ; 
in  1875,  B.  F.  Blake  was  elected  ;  then  F.  M. 
Stockfleth,  and  then  B.  F.  Parke  ;  in  1879,  E. 
Zezonia  ;   1881,  Thomas  J.  Curt. 

The  City  Marshals  were  Thomas  Wilson,  D. 
C.  Stewart,  P.  Corcoran,  R.  H.  Baird,  Martin 
Egan,  John  Hodges,  Jr. 

In  addition  to  the  City  Marshals  above  given 
we  may  mention  M.  Bambrick,  Andrew  Kane- 
City  Attorneys — H.  Watson  Webb,  who  filled 
the  office  for  four  successive  terms,  and  was 
again  re-elected  in  1863  and  1864.  In  1871,  P. 
H.  Pope  was  elected,  and  re-elected  in  1872.  In 
1873,  H.  Watson  Webb  was  again  elected.  In 
1875,  H.  H.  Black,  was  elected,  and  re-elected  in 
1876  ;  1877,  William  Q.  McGee  ;  1879,  W.  E. 
Hendricks,  and  re-elected  the  next  term. 

Police  Magistrates —B.  Shannessy,  who  held 
the  office  successively  from  1857  to  1864,  Fred- 


HISTOKY  OF  CAIRO. 


'  55 


oline  Bross  was  elected  in  1865.  In  1876, 
two  Police  Magisti-ates  were  elected  to  this 
office.  J.  J.  Bird  in  1880  ;  Bird  resigned  and 
George  E.  Olmstead  was  elected  ;  in  1881, 
Alfred  Comings  was  elected. 

In  1863,  for  the  first  time  the  Council  pro- 
vided for  the  office  of  Cit)'  Surve3-or,  and  the 
Board  elected  August  F.  Taylor  to  that  posi- 
tion. Mr.  Thrupp  has  filled  the  position  almost 
continually. 

In  addition  to  the  Mayors  above  enumerated, 
Thomas  Wilson  filled  the  office  in  1870  ;  John 
M.  Lansden,  1871  ;  re-elected  in  1872  ;  in  1873, 
John  Wood  ;  1874,  B.  F.  Blake  ;  1875,  Henry 
Winters  ;  re-elected  1877  ;  and  in  1879,  M.  B. 
Thistlewood  was  elected  and  re-elected  in  1881. 
The  present  officers  just  elected,  will  be  found 
complete  in  another  chapter. 

Cairo  was  always  "diabolically  Democratic," 
at  least  until  the  "  man  and  brother"  from  the 
cotton-fields  and  jungles  of  the  South  parted 
company  with  the  swamp  alligators  and  tooth- 
some possoms  of  that  region  and  came  upon 
the  town  like  the  black  ants  of  his  native  Af- 
rica. The  town  sits  upon  that  point  of  land  in 
Illinois  that  is  wedged  away  down  between 
what  wei'e  the  two  slave  States  of  Missouri  and 
Kentucky.  So  cosmopolitan  were  the  Cairo 
people  that  they  were  impatient  of  the  bawl- 
ings  and  crockodile  tears  of  the  Abolitionists, 
and  the  equally  idiotic  oaths  about  the  divine 
institution  of  slaver}'.  And  hence  the}'  were 
equally  abused  by  both  sides  of  the  fanatics 
and  fools.  Among  other  most  horrid  slanders 
that  ran  their  perennial  course  through  the  col- 
umns of  many  Northern  papers,  was  the  one 
that  Cairo  was  ready  and  eager  to  mob  and  kill 
every  "  loyal  "  man  who  happened  to  be  found 
in  the  place.  One  flaming  story  was  added  to 
the  Spencer  mobbing,  about  a  little  preacher 
named  Ferree,  who  attempted  to  make  an  Abo- 
lition speech  in  Cairo  and  was  odorously  egged, 
etc.  The  whole  thing  was  only  one  of  the  man}' 
slanders  upon  Cairo. 


In  the  campaign  of  1856,  a  noted  negroite, 
from  the  office  of  the  Chicago  Tribune,  came  to 
Cairo  to  make  a  Fremont  speech.  His  paper  had 
published  tomes  of  the  Cairo  slanders,  and 
dwelt  long  and  lovingly  on  the  Spencer  and 
Ferree  mobs.  After  the  distinguished  orator 
arrived  in  Cairo  he  ran  his  eye  over  the  columns 
of  his  paper,  of  which  he  carried  a  file  that  was 
filled  with  .sectional  slanders, and  he  became  nerv- 
ous, and  actually  worked  upon  his  own  fears  un- 
til he  began  to  seriously  believe  many  of  his 
own  published  lies.  He  thought  the  people  would 
mob  him.  He  locked  himself  in  his  room  and 
sent  for  the  Republican  leaders,  and  informed 
them  he  was  afraid  to  attempt  to  speak  in  Cairo. 
These  men  assured  him  there  was  no  danger, 
but  he  would  not  be  satisfied  until  nearly  every 
leading  Democrat  in  the  town  had  been  sent 
for,  and  they  all  pledged  themselves'and  staked 
their  lives  upon  his  entire  safety  and  immunity 
from  all  danger.  Then,  though  still  nervous, 
he  consented  to  go  on  with  the  meeting.  When 
the  hour  for  the  meeting  had  come  the  hall  was 
packed  with  people,  although  there  were  not  a 
score  of  Republicans  in  the  place.  The  speaker, 
with  his  escort,  appeared  upon  the  platform, 
was  introduced  and  received  with  hearty  cheers. 
He  commenced  his  speech,  and  the  attention  of 
the  crowd  was  close  and  respectful,  and  upon  the 
speaker's  slightest  allusion  to  anything  patriotic 
or  of  a  spread-eagle  nature,  prolonged  cheers 
would  greet  his  words.  His  exordium  had  been 
splendidly  pronounced  and  speaker  and  audi- 
ence were  en  rapport,  and  thus  encouraged  the 
orator  was  rising  to  the  occasion  in  some  of  the 
most  eloquent  slanders  of  the  South  that  ever 
greeted  eager  and  lengthened  ears,  when  all 
at  once,  Sam  Hall,  who  sat  nearly  in  the  front 
row  of  benches,  jumped  to  his  feet,  turned 
around  with  his  back  to  the  speaker  and  facing 
the  audience,  and  placing  his  hand  significantly 
to  his  hip  pocket,  in  a  clear  and  distinct  voice, 
said  :  "  I'll  shoot  the  first  son-of-a-sea-cook  that 
throws  an  egg  !  "     These  words  struck  the  ora- 


56 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


tor's  ears  like  the  crack  of  doom  ;  his  big 
speech,  even  articulation,  was  frightened  out  of 
him  ;  he  was  so  nervous  that  he  could  no  longer 
stand,  and  silence,  with  an  exceptional  here  and 
there  men  clearing  their  throats  and  suppress- 
ing the  "  audible  smiles  "  of  those  who  knew 
what  the  inveterate  wag,  Sam  Hall,  meant,  was 
intense,  and  the  speaker  hurriedly  passed  out 
of  the  rear  door  of  the  hall,  and  made  fast  time 
to  his  hotel,  and  was  on  the  first  train  out  of 
town,  and  for  weeks  the  Chicago  Tribune  wrung 
the  changes  on  "  Another  Cairo  Mob — Free 
Speech  Suppressed,"  etc. 

Among  the  early  and  long  time  institutions 
of  Cairo  was  "  Old  Rube,"  the  innocent  ad- 
vance guard  of  the  whole  "  coon  "  tribe,  that 
have  since  been  inflicted  upon  Cairo.  Old 
Rube  was  a  rather  quiet,  well-behaved  darkey, 
who  did  chores  about  town,  acted  as  "mud- 
clerk  "  for  most  of  the  saloons,  was  always, 
when  he  could  catch  an  audience  or  listener  on 
the  street,  talking  learnedly  about  the  Scriptures, 
and  had  a  great  weakness  for  chicken-roosts. 
"  Old  Rube  "  was  a  more  modest  Ethiopian 
than  his  modern  kind,  at  least  he  never  at- 
tempted to  turn  the  Cairo  white  children  out 
of  their  schools,  and  have  himself  installed  in 
their  places.  His  extraordinar}'  ideas,  and  his 
amusing  way  of  putting  them,  made  him  not 
only  tolerated  b}-  all  young  and  old  of  the 
place,  but  they  afforded  much  innocent  pas- 
time. He  was  one  morning  doing  his  usual 
clerking  in  the  new  telegraph  office,  when  it 
was  run  by  Mose  Harrell.  The  only  telegraph 
instruments  in  those  days  were  the  old- 
fashioned  kind,  that  were  wound  up,  and  used 
long  strips  of  paper.  In  sweeping  about  the 
instrument,  which  was  wound  up,  in  some  way 
he  touched  it,  and  it  commenced  to  run  down. 
He  realized  what  he  had  done  and  was  greatly 
frightened  as  he  saw  the  weight  slowly  descend 
toward  the  floor.  In  some  way  he  got  it  into 
his  woolly  pate  that  when  the  weight  struck  the 
floor  an  explosion  would  follow,  and  he  thought 


it  would  blow  the  whole  world  into  smithereens. 
On  a  full  run  he  started  to  hunt  Mose,  and 
when  he  found  him,  told  him  what  was  going 
on.  Mose  in  apparent  fright,  rushed  back 
with  Rube  to  the  office,  and  just  as  they  entered 
the  machine  had  run  down  and  stopped,  of 
course,  just  before  the  weight  touched  the  floor. 
He  made  Rube  believe  he  was  just  there  at 
the  last  moment,  and  conflrmed  the  darkey's 
idea  and  enlarged  them  greatly  b}^  showing 
him  how  the  explosion,  commencing  at  Cairo, 
would  have  blown  awa}'  entirely  St.  Louis, 
Chicago,  Cincinnati,  Pittsburgh  and  in  fact  all 
the  leading  cities  of  the  world.  For  the  re- 
mainder of  Rube's  life  he  told  over  this  thrill- 
ing stor}-  in  which  he  and  Mose  Harrell  were 
such  conspicuous  actors,  always  adding  some 
embellishments  to  the  story,  and  ever}'  time 
going  a  little  more  learnedly  into  the  scientific 
intricacies  of  electricity.  In  discussing  the 
Scriptures,  he  evidently  believed  that  the'  story 
of  Jonah  and  the  whale,  and  Noah  and  his  ark, 
were  about  the  sum  total  of  the  whole  busi- 
ness. He  believed  it  a  religious  duty  to 
smoke  a  strong  pipe,  because  had  Jonah 
not  had  his  pipe  and  matches  in  his  pocket, 
after  the  whale  swallowed  him,  and  was  swim- 
ming oflT  for  a  general  frolic  with  the  other 
whales,  he  would  never  have  been  cast  ashore. 
Explaining  one  day  on  the  streets  all  about 
how  Noah  constructed  the  Ark,  how  long  it 
took  him,  and  how  much  material  there  was  in 
it.  The  question  was  asked,  ''Where  did  he 
get  his  nails  ?  "  "  Wh}-,  in  Pittsburgh,  of  course, 
you  fool  you!  Whar  could  he  get  'em  if  not  dar?" 
He  believed  heaven  a  place  made  up  exclusive- 
ly of  chicken  roosts,  and  where  there  was 
nothing  higher  for  them  to  roost  upon  than  a 
common  rail  fence.  Every  one  kindly  tolerated 
the  ignorant  and  innocent  old  man,  gave  him 
alwa3'S  plenty  to  eat,  and  he  dressed  himself 
j'ear  in  and  out  with  the  old  clothes  of  which 
he  always  had  an  immense  supply.  In  his 
young  days,  he  had  been  one  of  the  innumera- 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


57 


ble  servants  of  George  Washington,  at  all 
events  he  had  told  the  story  until  he  un- 
doubtedl}'  believed  it,  and  he  al\va3-s  respect- 
fully spoke  of  him  as  "  Mas'r  George."  He  was 
a  stanch  Republican  from  the  formation  of 
that  part}',  and  was  a  regular  attendant  upon 
its  meetings  in  Cairo,  j'et  his  associates  and 
friends  were  exclusivel}'  Democrats.  He  never 
expected  or  apparently'  wanted  to  vote,  and 
sometimes,  like  perhaps  a  majorit}'  of  the  white 
voters,  got  his  religion  and  politics  so  mixed 
up  that  he  could  not  disentangle  them.  x\nd 
often  when  the  question  was  suddenly  sprung 
upon  him  he  could  not  tell  "  Mas'r  Linkum  " 
from  the  ark,  nor  Noah  from  the  whale,  but, 
to  his  credit  be  it  said,  this  mental,  political 
and  religious  confusion  but  rarely  took  pos- 
session of  the  old  man,  except  after  he  had 
cleaned  and  righted  up,  and  purified  and 
sweetened  his  usual  morning  round  of  the  dog- 
geries. He  has  long  since,  if  his  theories  were 
all  correct,  had  a  touch  of  experience  of  those 
other  worlds,  about  which  while  here  he  talked 
so  much,  and  dreamed  such  vague  and  incoher- 
ent dreams.  He  rests  beneath  the  willow  tree. 
1^58 — Cairo  Inundated. — For  the  second 
time  a  widespread  disaster  overwhelmed  Cairo, 
and  under  circumstances  in  some  respects  very 
similar  to  that  of  1841.  But  this  time  it  was 
water.  On  Saturday,  June  13,  1858,  at  about 
the  hour  of  5  P.  M.,  the  levee  gave  away  on 
the  Mississippi  side  of  the  town,  near  its  inter- 
section with  the  embankment  of  the  Illinois 
Central  Railroad.  For  several  days  previous 
it  had  been  predicted  b}'  many  who  had  closel}' 
watched  the  progi-ess  of  the  flood,  and  who 
were  familiar  with  the  character  of  the  levees, 
that  the  town  was  in  constant  danger.  The 
people  were  warned  of  the  peril ;  but  lulled  into 
a  feeling  of  security  by  the  fact  that  during  the 
fifteen  j-ears  past  they  had  escaped  sul)mersion, 
and  by  assurances  of  the  reckless  that  all  was 
safe,  they  paid  no  attention  whatever  to  the 
warning  regarding  it,  only  as   the  bugbear  of 


panic-makers.  As  a  consequence,  the  flood 
came  upon  many  of  the  people  unexpectedly, 
leaving  them  only  time  to  escape  with  their 
lives. 

The  break,  it  is  now  known,  resulted  from  the 
defective  construction  of  the  works  by  the  un- 
principled contractor  who  made  the  embank- 
ment. The  water  was  more  than  a  foot  below  the 
top  of  the  Igvee,  and  up  to  the  moment  of  the 
break  gave  no  sign  of  the  coming  disaster. 
The  waters  rushed  through  with  a  great  roar, 
carrying  with  them  the  embankment  in  great 
sections,  and  in  places  with  such  force  and 
violence  as  to  uproot  trees  and  stumps  in  its 
course. 

A  force  of  500  men  were  as  soon  as  possible 
placed  upon  what  is  known  as  the  "  Old  Cross 
Levee,"  an  embankment  running  from  the  Ohio 
to  the  Mississippi  in  the  upper  portion  of  the 
city,  with  the  hope  that  they  would  be  able  to 
fill  up  the  openings  which  had  been  cut  on  the 
line  of  the  streets  and  stop  the  flood  of  this 
embankment.  But  the  waters  poured  in  so 
rapidly  and  came  with  such  a  strong  current 
that  this  attempt  was  reluctantly  but  necessa- 
ril}'  abandoned. 

A  lady  resident,  still  of  the  citj'  of  Cairo, 
who  was  here  at  the  time,  gave  the  writer  a 
most  graphic  description  of  the  scenes  imme- 
diately following  the  break  in  the  levee.  Gen- 
erally the  women  and  children  only  were  at 
the  houses — the  men  at  their  business,  many 
trying  to  move  their  goods  and  perishable  arti- 
cles to  safe  places  in  upper  stories,  where  they 
could  get  these,  and  3'et  man}-  others  were  out 
upon  the  levees  trying  in  vain  to  stop  the 
waters.  It  was  after  G  o'clock  when  a  man 
came  galloping  down  the  main  street,  horse 
and  rider  covered  with  mud  and  calling  out  at 
the  top  of  his  voice,  "  The  levee  is  broken — 
flee  for  your  lives !"  In  a  few  minutes  the 
waters  were  seen  stealing  along  the  sewers  and 
low  places  in  the  streets,  winding  about  the 
houses  and  the  people  like  an   anaconda.     The 


58 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


poor  women  and  children  were  generally  wring- 
ing their  hands  and  crying  in  utter  helplessness. 
She  says  she  saw  one  poor  woman  with  a  piece 
of  stove-pipe  under  one  arm  and  a  cheap  look- 
ing-glass under  the  other,  on  her  way  to  the 
Ohio  Levee,  followed  by  a  brood  of  five  or  six 
children,  and  all  weeping  in  the  greatest  dis- 
tress. Confusion  was  turned  loose,  and  while 
all  were  in  the  greatest  fear  and  apprehension, 
yet  it  was  those  whose  houses  were  low,  one- 
storied  concerns  and  in  low  places,  that  death 
to  them  and  their  little  dependent  ones  seemed 
staring  them  in  the  face.  Generally  those  who 
were  in  houses  of  two  stories  concluded  to  stay 
at  home  and  were  busy  moving  everything  into 
the  second  stor}". 

Soon  through  the  streets  in  great  force  came 
the  muddy  waters,  carrying  upon  its  bosom  logs, 
fences,  trees  and  lumber,  and  presenting  a  scene 
that  oppressed  the  stoutest  heart ;  and  night 
settled  upon  the  sad  scene,  and  in  the  darkness 
and  soon  in  the  water  itself,  were  families  mak- 
ing their  way  to  the  Ohio  Levee.  By  daylight 
Sunday  morning,  there  was  no  dr}^  land  to  be 
seen  inside  the  levees,  and  bj-  noon  of  that  day 
the  waters  inside  were  of  the  height  of  the 
rivers.  As  far  as  the  eye  could  see  the  spec- 
tator behold  naught  but  a  sea  of  turbid  water 
and  a  scene  of  confusion  and  ruin. 

Some  of  the  one-stor}-  buildings  in  the  low 
grounds  of  the  town  presented  only  their  roofs 
above  the  water  ;  a  few  light  and  frail  ones 
had  left  their  foundations,  and  yet  a  few  othei's 
had  careened,  while  every  building  of  this 
character  had  been  abandoned  at  an  early  hour 
by  their  occupants. 

In  ever}-  quarter  of  the  city  skiffs,  canoes 
and  floats  of  every  kind  plied  industriously 
from  house  to  house  and  were  engaged  in  re- 
moving women  and  children,  furniture,  goods, 
etc.,  to  the  Ohio  Levee.  The  plank  walks  were 
sawed  into  convenient  sections  and  used  as 
floats,  and  every  imaginable  species  of  craft 
were  improvised  for  the  occasion. 


Altogether  about  500  persons  were  driven 
from  their  homes,  and  the  little  strip  of  the 
Ohio  Levee,  the  only  dr^'  spot  for  miles  around, 
was  crowded  with  men,  women  and  children, 
dogs,  cattle,  plunder,  wagons,  cars,  etc.,  from 
one  end  to  the  other.  Every  nook  and  corner 
of  the  warehouses  were  crowded  to  excess 
with  the  houseless  and  their  plunder,  and  the 
cars  on  the  railroad  track  were  all  similarly 
occupied.  Many  made  their  way  in  rafts 
and  skiffs  and  also  left  on  steamboats  for  the 
highlands,  and  many  of  these  stood  aloof  from 
"  health  and  fortune  "  by  making  their  absence 
permanent. 

Some  families  were  made  destitute  by  the 
flood,  but  these  were  so  promptly-  provided  for 
by  the  more  fortunate  citizens  that  no  real 
cases  of  suffering  ensued.  Charity  was  offered 
the  people  from  other  cities,  but  the  plucky 
Cairoites  said  "No  ;  we  can  and  are  providing 
for  our  own  people." 

We  can  get  no  reliable  estimate  of  the  dam- 
age financially  that  the  people  of  the  town  suf- 
fered. Many  poor  people  whose  loss  in  dollars 
and  cents  was  small,  yet  to  them  it  was  great 
because  it  was  their  all.  But  under  the  cir- 
cumstances, and  considering  that  the  visitation 
was  upon  the  entire  town,  and  each  one  lost 
more  or  less,  the  aggregate  was  not  large,  not 
near  so  large  in  property-  as  in  the  disrupting 
of  established  business,  the  destruction  of  con- 
fidence and  the  general  bad  odor  it  attached  to 
Cairo's  already  grievous  burdens  in  this  respect. 
It  was  the  suffering  by  the  cit}',  as  a  cit}-,  that 
brought  more  damage  than  all  the  water  in- 
flicted. The  general  revulsion  that  followed, 
the  depreciation  of  property,  the  loss  of  con- 
fidence— these  formed  a  sum  of  damages  that 
cannot  be  estimated  in  dollars. 

There  was  no  perceptible  rise  in  the  rivers 
after  the  breaking  of  the  levee,  and  the  waters 
began  rapidly  to  recede.  In  less  than  two 
weeks  the  city  was  dry  again,  and  every  da}- 
the  citizens  were  returning  to  their  homes;  logs 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


5» 


and  rubbish  were  cleared  from  the  streets, 
houses  were  repaired  and  re  painted,  and  fences 
re-built,  and  but  a  few  months  had  passed 
when  the  prominent  marks  of  the  flood  had 
been  cleared  away — wiped  out  forever. 

The  two  3'ears  following  the  submersion  of 
Cairo  formed  probabh-  the  most  trying  period 
of  her  histor}-.  Real  estate  dropped  its  former 
high  figures,  and  purchasers  could  buy  at  al- 
most their  own  figures,  but  the  shock  public 
confidence  had  received  pi'evented  investments, 
and  business  being  in  a  measure  deadened,  there 
was  no  incentive  for  improvement  strong 
enough  to  move  to  action  those  who  had  for- 
merly invested.  Rival  interests  eagerly  pro- 
claimed the  downfall  of  the  city,  and  confident- 
ly predicted  it  would  never  attempt  to  rise 
again,  and  there  were  many  in  Cairo  and  out  of 
it  who  were  ready  to  believe  the  blow  had 
proved  effectually  crushing.  But  the  repair- 
ing, widening  and  strengthening  the  levees  and 
expending  vast  sums  in  this  work,  soon  created 
abetter  feeling  at  home  and  helped  to  inspire 
confidence  abroad,  and  by  the  end  of  the  sec- 
ond year  after  the  overflow,  property  had  about 
regained  its  former  value  and  the  business  of 
the  place  its  accustomed  tone;  and  as  time 
wore  on,  and  the  heights  and  proportions  of 
the  levees  increased,  confidence  in  the  habita- 
bleness  of  the  locality  gained  its  original 
standard. 

In  1861,  Cairo  had  recovered  wholly  from 
the  overflow,  and  her  population  had  increased 
to  a  little  over  2,000  souls,  the  census  of  18(10 
showing  a  population  for  Alexander  County  of 
a  little  over  4,000.  The  town  had  recovered 
slowly,  but  its  foundations  had  been  solidly 
built  and  the  levees  had  been  made  the  strong- 
est and  safest  in  the  world. 

In  April,  18G1,  the  great  civil  war  was  fully 
inaugurated.  The  majority  of  the  people 
of  Cairo  "  knew  no  North,  no  South,  no  East,  no 
West,  but  the  Union,  the  whole  Union,  one  and 
inseparable,   now    and    forever."      They    had 


hoped,  up  to  the  last  hour,  that  in  some  way 
the  bloody  issue  would  be  spared  the  country 
once  more.  A  military  company,  armed  and 
uniformed,  and  composed  of  nearly  all  the 
young  men  of  the  town,  met  and  drilled  at 
their  hall  regularly  every  week.  They  met  one 
evening,  and  after  their  usual  exercises  they 
engaged  in  a  social  meeting  and  talked  over 
the  then  absorbing  subject  of  the  war.  It  was 
evident  that  it  was  then  upon  the  country. 
Lincoln  had  called  for  75,000  troops,  and 
Seward  had  proclaimed  that  it  would  be  fought 
out  in  ninety  days.  Several  of  the  Cairo  braves 
made  "talks,"  and  the  meeting  finall}'  passed 
some  "  armed  neutralit}'  "  resolutions  and  ad- 
journed. During  all  that  night  the  incoming 
trains  were  freighted  with  United  States  sol- 
diers, and  when  the  Cairo  soldiers  got  up  in  the 
morning,  the  streets  and  woods  were  full  of 
them.  And  the  Cairo  companj-  never  met 
again.  It  is  due  the  Cairo  boys  to  say  that 
about  every  one  of  them  joined  the  Union 
arm}-,  and,  still  more  to  their  credit,  it  is  said 
tliat  every  one  of  them  rose  to  honorable,  and 
many  of  them  to  eminent  promotions. 
The  immediate  effect  of  the  occupation 
of  the  place  by  the  militar}-  was  to  check  im- 
provements and  paralyze  business.  This 
largel}-  resulted  from  the  fact  that  some  of  the 
early  commandants  of  the  place  were  ignorant 
fanatics,  and  who  proposed  to  treat  ever}' 
Democrat  as  a  traitor,  and  visit  all  with  a 
heavy  hand.  Then,  the  further  fact,  that 
neither  the  Government  nor  troops  had  any 
money  here  at  that  time,  and  the  business 
means  of  the  city  were  absorbed  in  advancing 
supplies  on  credit.  But  when  the  Government 
commenced  distributing  money  here  to  the 
troops  and  its  creditors,  then  a  far  more  grat- 
ifying condition  of  affiirs  was  at  once  inaugu- 
rated. Our  merchants,  mechanics  and  laborers 
were  reimbursed  for  what  they  had  advanced, 
and  at  once  an  unusual  activity  not  only 
marked  every  department  of  business,  but  new 


60 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


branches  of  trade  were  introduced,  the  old 
ones  were  multiplied  and  a  vigor,  which  had 
never  before  been  felt,  characterized  the  entire 
city.  Cairo  was  the  great  gateway  between 
the  North  and  the  South.  It  was  a  military 
post  of  vast  importance.  Thousands  of  soldiers 
were  stationed  here,  forts  erected,  and 
still  other  thousands  of  soldiers  were 
daily  passing  through  the  place.  Green- 
backs were  plenty  and  morals  became  scarce. 
Many  unblushing  outrages,  which  were  never 
punished,  were  committed  upon  citizens  by 
the  demoralized  soldiers.  But  the  war  adver- 
tised Cairo  more  than  had  all  else  in  her  his- 
tory as  an  important  and  commanding  point 
on  the  continent,  and  business  and  capital  was 
attracted  here  in  an  unparalleled  degree.  And 
by  the  spring  of  1863,  Cairo  was,  for  the  third 
time,  in  the  glories  of  flush  times.  New  houses 
were  going  up  on  every  hand  that  were  always 
rented  before  finished,  and,  for  a  village,^ often 
at  enormous  figures  ;  but  the  new-comers  were 
on  a  race  for  some  place  to  shelter  their  fam- 
ilies, and  they  rarely  hesitated  about  the  price 
of  the  rent.  Everybody  was  making  money, 
and  spending  it  freely  and  lavishly.  The  evi- 
dences of  this  were  well  given  in  the  swarms  of 
gamblers  that  came  here  and  were  busy 
plying  their  vocation,  until  finally,  so  systemat- 
ically were  they  robbing  the  soldiers,  that  rigid 
military  orders  were  issued  in  regard  to  them, 
and  some  were  put  in  irons. 

Gen.  Prentiss  came  here,  we  believe,  in 
charge  of  the  first  arrivals  of  soldiers,  and 
assumed  the  command  of  the  post.  He  was 
superseded  by  Gen.  Grant,  who  was  here  so 
long  that  he  almost  became  a  citizen.  He  had 
his  oflSce  in  the  bank  building,  on  Ohio  levee, 
now  occupied  as  a  law  office  by  Green  &  Gil- 
bert. The  present  old  settlers  of  Cairo  all 
came  to  know  Grant  quite  well  while  he  was 
here.  John  Rawlins  came  here  with  Grant  and 
was  his  factotum  in  office  headquarters,  and 
"Washington  Graham,  a   citizen  and   business 


man  of  Cairo,  was  Grant's  factotum  outside. 
Graham  had  extensive  business  ambition,  and 
he  was  shrewd  enough  to  know  and  under- 
stand Gen.  Grant  and  quickly  formed  the 
closest  intimacy  with  him.  He  spent  his  money 
on  the  General  like  a  prince,  and  he  was  soon 
the  power  behind  the  throne.  He  bought  the 
best  of  cigars  b}'  the  wholesale,  and  constantly 
kept  the  liquid  commissary  department  at 
headquarters  abundantly  supplied.  Wash- 
ington Graham,  had  he  lived  during  the  war, 
would  have,  beyond  doubt,  extended  his  in- 
fluence and  power  just  as  Grant  was  advanced 
along  the  line  of  promotion.  He  was  a  man  of 
genial  nature,  strong  social  powers,  and  shrewd 
sense — exactly-  the  kind  of  man  who  liked  to  be 
the  power  behind  the  throne,  and  wielding  that 
power,  when  opportunitj'  ofiered.  to  put  money 
in- his  purse,  and  to  make  the  fortune  of  his 
friends  and  pull  down  remorselessly'  his 
enemies.  He  soon  became  essential  to  the 
Grant  party  in  all  its  junketing  on  the  rivei's, 
and  was  a  member  of  headquarters'  mess  on 
the  steamboat  in  the  expedition  to  Paducah 
and  to  Fort  Donelson.  Grant  liked  him  and 
his  liberal  ways  from  the  first  of  their  acquaint- 
ance, and  when  he  was  stricken  down  with  con- 
sumption and  went  to  his  friends  in 
St.  Louis  to  die,  it  must  have  seemed  to 
Gen.  Grant  a  serious  aflliction.  The 
General  must  have  loved  all  jolly,  liberal  men. 
No  man  in  the  world  could  play  his  role  better 
than  Washington  Graham.  Gen.  Grant's  family 
were  here  for  some  time  with  him,  and  had 
living-rooms  across  the  hall  from  his  head- 
quarters. At  that  time  the  family  seemed  to 
be  very  plain,  unpretending  people.  Bill 
Shuter's  extensive  establishment  was  the  alma 
mater  of  much  of  the  enthusiastic  patriot- 
ism of  those  days,  as  well  as  some  of  the 
early  strategic  movements  of  the  war  in  the 
West. 

Among  the  first  military  movements  of  Gen. 
Prentiss  after  he  was  placed  in  command  of  the 


v 


U'^^/enuz^^ 


^t 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


63 


forces  at  Cairo,  numbering  4,800  men,  was  to 
formally  demand  the  arms  of  the  Cairo  Guards. 
As  the  compan}'  had  dissolved  into  the  air  im- 
mediately upon  the  coming  of  the  soldiers,  the 
General  could  find  no  one  to  respond  to 
his  flag  of  truce  demanding  an  unconditional 
surrender  of  the  ordnances.  But  he  found  the 
keys  to  the  armory,  and  the  deadly  weapons  of 
war  were  taken  possession  of  in  the  name  of  the 
United  States  and  turned  over  to  arm  the 
Union  soldiers. 

The  next  and  much  more  important  move- 
ment was  to  look  out  for  the  steamers  C.  E. 
Hillman  and  John  D.  Perry,  which  he  had  been 
notified  by  Gov.  Yates  had  been  loaded  with 
arms  and  ammunition  and  were  on  their  way 
South  with  their  cargoes.  When  the  boats' 
reached  Cairo  they  were  boarded  and  brought 
to  the  wharf  A  large  number  of  arms  and 
ammunition  were'seized  and  confiscated — a  pro- 
ceeding, at  the  time  informal,  but  it  was  after- 
ward approved  by  the  Secretary'  of  War. 

Gen.  Grant's  first  battle  in  the  war  was  Bel- 
mont, Mo.,  a  point  nearly  opposite  Columbus, 
K3'.,  where  the  rebels  were  in  strong  force,  and 
had  detached  a  small  portion  of  the  Columbus 
forces  to  occupy  Belmont.  Gen.  Grant  conclud- 
ed it  would  be  an  immense  piece  of  strategy- 
to  capture  Belmont,  and  thus  relieve  that  por- 
tion of  Missouri,  and  to  some  extent  intercept  all 
communications  between  the  rebel  forces  of 
Kentucky  and  Missouri.  So  a  fleet  of  boats 
sailed  down  the  river,  and  a  part  of  the  force 
marched  down  by  land  from  Bird's  Point — 
the  force  from  the  river  to  land  and  attack  in 
front,  and  the  land  force  to  come  up  in  the  rear, 
and  thus  pocket  the  enem}'.  The  whole  scheme 
was  well  devised,  and  the  river  force,  reaching 
the  grounds  long  before  the  land  force,  and 
so  eager  were  oflBcers  and  men  for  blood 
and  glory,  that  they  at  once  attacked.  The 
river  forces  were  under  the  immediate  com- 
mand of  Gen.  Grant.  They  were  hastily 
deploved  from  the  boats,  a  short  distance  above 


Belmont,  formed  in  battle  line,  opened  fire,  and 
charged  upon  the  enem3''s  encampment  and 
captured  it.  But  the  teats  were  empt}-,  mostly, 
and  all  hands  were  in  deep  indignation  at  the 
enemy  for  running  awa3'  in  such  a  dastardl}' 
manner.  And  the  soldiers  fell  to  work  ripping 
up  fhe  tents,  and  prying  into  the  culinar}'  affairs 
of  the  enem3''s  camp,  and  exulting  over  their 
easj'  victory.  Just  when  they  had  become 
prett}'  well  scattered  over  the  grounds,  the 
enemy  suddenly'  emerged  from  the  woods,  and 
at  short  range,  opened  a  galling  fire.  The  ad- 
vance of  the  land  forces  just  then  appeared, 
and  for  a  few  minutes  the  battle  raged  fiercely 
— the  rebels  charged,  and  the  Union  forces  fled 
to  the  boats,  and  in  a  dreadfull}'  un-dress-pa- 
rade  fashion,  and  amid  flying  bullets  the  boats 
were  loaded  and  steamed  back  io  Cairo.  From 
the  manner  in  which  the  boats  had  been  sprin- 
kled with  shot,  from  buckshot  to  birdshot,  and 
from  many  of  the  wounds  in  the  clothes  of  the 
federals,  the  enemy  must  have  been  mostly- 
armed  with  shotguns  and  fowling  pieces.  The 
land  forces  continued  to  return  in  straggling 
squads,  to  Bird's  Point  for  a  week,  as  some  of 
them  got  lost  in  the  river  bottoms.  The  fed- 
eral forces  had  simply  walked  into  a  trap  that 
had  been  set  for  them,  and  the}'  escaped  b}'  the 
"  skin  of  the  teeth." 

An  incident  of  this  battle  is  worth  relating. 
When  the  Union  forces  captured  the  enemy's 
camp,  as  stated  above,  the}'  found  nobody  at 
home,  but  they  did  find  a  female  baby 
about  three  months  old,  sleeping  peacefully  on 
the  bare  ground,  amid  the  roar  of  battle  and 
the  whistling  bullets  that  played  thick  and  fast 
all  around  it.  There  was  no  one  to  claim  it, 
and  a  good  Caii'o  citizen  took  the  babe  in  his 
arms  and  brought  it  to  Cairo,  whei'e  it  was 
taken  in  charge  by  Father  Lambert,  and  a 
home  provided  for  the  little  trophy  of  war. 
Nothing  could  ever  be  learned  concerning  the 
child,  although  every  exertion  was  made  to  do 
so.     It  was  duly  christened   a  Christian,  and 


64 


HISTORY  OF  CAIEO. 


named  "  Belmont  Lambert."  The  supposition 
is,  that  in  the  attack  and  firing  upon  the  camp, 
the  mother  of  the  child  had  been  killed,  and  as 
the  father  must  have  been  a  rebel  soldier,  it  is 
probable  he  was  killed  in  this  battle,  or  in 
some  other  soon  after,  and  it  may  be  that  no 
one  of  this  father,  mother  and  babe  ever  knew 
what  became  of  the  others.  We  know  nothing 
of  the  history  of  Belle  Lambert,  after  she  was 
provided  for  here  in  Cairo,  as  an  infant.  If 
alive  now,  she  is  a  gi-own  woman,  twenty-two 
years  old.  What  a  dream  the  strange  story  of 
her  life  must  be  to  her.  How  she  must  have 
employed  heavy  hours  of  her  young  life  in 
peering  at  every  lineament  of  her  features  in 
the  glass,  trying  to  discover  traces  of  her  un- 
known father  and  mother,  and  having  fixed 
them  in  her  mind,  as  she  supposed,  how  eagerly 
would  she  scan  every  strange  face  she  met,  in 
the  vain  hope,  in  all  this  multitude,  of  finding 
the  long-lost  and  ideally  formed  and  loved 
mother  or  father.  Is  there  a  mothers  heart  in 
all  the  world  that  is  not  melted  at  the  story  of 
this  lost  babe — the  little  angel  waif,  found  un- 
harmed in  the  midst  of  slaughter  and  blood — a 
little  flower  of  peace  and  love,  sleeping  sweetly 
amid  all  its  hideous  surroundings. 

But  to  refer  again,  briefly,  to  the  Belmont 
battle  :  There  is  a  part  of  that  storj'  that  is 
furnished  us  b}'  a  prominent  and  reliable  gen- 
tleman of  Cairo,  William  Lornegan,  who  was 
acting  mate  on  the  transport,  Montgomery,  that 
has  never  been  told  in  print,  and  that  will  some 
day  be  essential  to  the  truth  of  history.  He 
says  that  one  afternoon  while  the  Montgomery 
was  anchored  in  front  of  Cairo.  Wash  Oraham 
came  on  board  and  ordered  the  Captain  to  coal 
at  once,  and  drop  down  to  Fort  Holt,on  the  Ken- 
tucky side,  and  that  when  he  received  the  signal 
from  the  flag-boat  he  was  to  swing  out  into  the 
stream  and  follow.  The  Captain  asked  Graham 
what  the  signal  was  to  be,  and  was  answered, 
"five  whistles."  Then,  for  the  first  time,  word 
passed  around  with  the   crew   that   they   were 


going  to  attack  Columbus.  Before  that,  they 
supposed  the}-  were  going  to  be  loaded  with 
soldiers,  and  take  them  to  Cape  Girardeau,  as 
they  had  made  a  trip  or  two  of  this  kind  al- 
ready. These  troops,  it  was  afterwai'd  known, 
were  to  march  by  land,  and  come  upon  Bel- 
mont, in  conjunction  with  the  water  forces,  and 
the  Bird's  Point  forces.  A  force  had  been  sent 
out  from  Fort  Holt  to  make  a  similar  detour 
upon  Columbus  from  the  east.  Thus,  by  three 
columns,  a  land  force  on  each  side  of  the  river 
and  a  fleet  of  transports  and  two  gunboats  by 
the  river,  the  two  places,  Columbus  and  Bel- 
mont, were  both  to  be  captured.  In  accordance 
with  instructions,  the  flag-boat  passed  down  by 
Fort  Holt  about  4  o'clock,  P.  M.,  and  gave  the 
*five-whistle  signal,  and  the  fleet  of  five  trans- 
ports and  two  gunboats  sailed  down  the  river. 
Going  about  half  way  to  Columbus,  the}'  round- 
ed to  and  tied  up  for  the  night.  The  next 
morning  the  fleet  dropped  down  in  full  view  of 
the  Columbus  bluflfs,  all  over  which  were 
mounted  the  rebel  cannon,  commanding  the 
river.  About  9  o'clock  in  the  morning,  the 
forces  were  disembarked,  and  were  marched 
toward  Belmont.  The  gunboats  dropped  down 
a  short  distance  below  the  fleet,  and  fired  upon 
Columbus,  the  guns  from  the  fort  promptly  re- 
sponding, sending  their  balls,  from  the  first  shot, 
closely  about  the  transports — one  ball  falling 
just  at  the  stern  of  the  Montgomery,  and  splash- 
ing the  water  over  the  deck.  The  fleet  moved 
out  from  this  point,  and  took  a  position  two 
and  a  half  miles  further  up  the  river  in  a  safe 
bend,  and  there  listened  at  the  progress  of  the 
fight  at  Belmont.  The  opening  musketry  was 
not  of  long  duration,  and  then  there  was  a  long 
cessation,  and  the  firing  again  commenced. 
Mr.  L.  tells  us  that  he  saw  nothing  of  the  fight 
at  Belmont,  and  only  learned  from  hearing  the 
soldiers  talk  about  it,  that  the  enemy  threw  a 
force  across  the  river  from  Columbus,  and  re- 
newed the  fight.  He  says  the  first  signs  he 
noticed  from  the  battle-ground  was  about  sun- 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


65 


down,  when  two  soldiers  appeared  at  the  boat, 
one  leading  and  helping  the  other,  who  had 
been  wounded  in  the  arm.  Thej-  reported  that 
the  rebels  had  crossed  over  from  Columbus,  and 
were  "  cutting  our  men  all  to  pieces.'  The 
transports  at  once  dropped  down  to  the  point 
where  they  had  landed  the  night  before,  so  as 
to  permit  our  forces,  whom  the}'  learned  were 
in  full  retreat  before  the  enemy,  to  get  on' 
board.  By  the  time  the\-  had  landed  it  was 
dark,  and  b}'  this  time,  our  forces  were  coming, 
pell-mell — rank  and  file — officers  and  privates, 
in  one  indiscriminate  mass  on  board  the  boats. 
In  the  confusion,  some  one  from  the  hurricane 
deck  gave  the  mate  the  order  to  haul  in  his  gang 
plank  and  cast  loose.  This  was  only  done, 
when  the  Captain  of  the  boat  ordered  the  gang 
I)lank  run  out  again,  so  as  to  permit  the  fast- 
coming  soldiers  to  get  on  board.  This  was 
done,  and  then  almost  immediately  the  order 
was  again  given  to  cast  loose,  and  this  was 
obej-ed,  and  the  boat  steamed  up  the  river. 
The  whole  fleet  was  on  its  way,  and  the  banks 
of  the  river  were  lined  with  rebels,  pouring 
a  hot  fire  into  the  boats.  The  rebels  sent 
a  battery  across  a  bend  up  the  river,  intend- 
ing by  this  movement  to  capture  or  sink 
the  entire  fleet.  As  good  fortune  would 
have  it,  they  only  reached  their  position 
just  as  the  boats  passed,  but  so  closel}' 
had  the}-  pursued  them  that  they  fired  a  num- 
ber of  shots  at  the  fleet.  Mr.  L.  thinks  that 
had  the  fleet  been  dela3-ed  thirty  minutes  longer, 
the  capture  of  the  Union  army  and  fleet  would 
have  been  complete.  A  number  of  soldiers 
were  left  on  the  bank,  and  they  made  their  way 
to  Bird's  Point,  as  best  they  could,  and  for  days 
and  days  these  stragglers  were  coming  in.  Mr. 
L.  says  the  fact  of  our  forces  not  all  being  able 
to  get  on  the  boats  was  painfull}-  manifested  to 
his  mind  at  the  time  by  a  conversation  he 
heard  Gen.  Logan  have  with  some  other  officer. 
Logan  denounced  what  he  called  deserting  these 
men  to  their  fate,  and  was   insisting  the   fleet 


should  return  and  lake  them  on  board.  Mr.  L. 
says  when  he  heard  this,  he  made  up  his  mind 
he  would  swim  ashore  and  walk  home,  rather 
than  go  back. 

Wash  Graham  seems  to  have  been  the  acting 
Admiral  of  the  fleet,  and  so  far  as  its  actions 
were  concerned, he  managed  his  part  of  the  battle 
with  skill  and  success.  Upon  the  return  of  the 
army  to  Cairo,  everybody  seemed  to  be  laboring 
for  several  days  under  a  general  kind  of  nebulous 
demoralization.  But  in  a  short  time  the  troops 
were  called  back  to  Cairo,  Bird's  Point  and  Fort 
Holt,  and  the  most  of  them  put  upon  transports 
and  sent  to  Paducah,  Ky.  The  history  of 
Grant's  expedition  up  the  river  and  the  fights  at 
Fort  Henry,  Heiman  and  Fort  Donelson  are  a 
part  of  the  war  history  of  the  country,  and 
are  not  properly  to  be  considered  as  an  essential 
part  of  the  history  of  Cairo  ;  although  Cairo 
was  the  base  from  which  the  expedition  started 
and  on  which  it  relied  for  material  support. 
And  although  it  is  also  true  that  there  are  men 
still  living  in  Cairo  who  were  in  thatexpedition? 
and  who  were  boat  officers  on  the  boat  that  car- 
ried Gen.  Grant,  Wash  Graham  and  staff",  and 
whose  recollection  of  much  of  the  behind-the- 
curtain  facts  that  took  place  on  that  boat,  are 
essential  to  the  truth  of  history,  yet  we  do  not 
care  to  lumber  the  story  of  the  city  of  Cairo 
with  them,  but  to  the  war  historians  who  are  to 
come — those  who  do  not  care  to  write  a  partisan 
account  of  the  war,  there  may  be  found  val- 
uable mines  of  truth  among  the  war  survivors 
at  Cairo. 

In  another  chapter,  we  give  a  toleralily  broad 
insinuation  of  the  kind  of  men  among  the  first 
commandants  of  the  post  Cairo  had  during  the 
early  war  times.  Col.  Boohfort  was  a  crank 
and  in  his  dotage  ;  he  was  a  silly  old  vicious 
creature. threatening  everybody — "I'll  have  you 
shot,  sir  !  Have  you  shot  !  "  or  in  his  more 
rational  moods  threatening  to  put  them  in  irons. 
He  had  a  whole  company  of  his  own  men  ar- 
rested one  day  and  was  going  to  have  them  shot 


66 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


as  usual,  because  in  ridiug  b}-  their  camp  he 
heard  them  singing  "  My  Mary  Ann, "'  when  it 
turned  out  that  that  was  his  wife's  name.  A 
Cairo  butcher's  team  ran  awaj-  one  day  and  at 
full  speed,  the  driver  trying  his  best  to  stop 
them,  they  ran  across  his  parade  grounds,  and 
when  the  old  man  saw  his  sacred  grounds  thus 
sacrilegiously  invaded,  he  screamed  at  the  poor, 
helpless  driver  as  far  as  he  could  see  him,  "  I'll 
have  you  shot  !  Arrest  that  man  !  etc. "  The 
people,  however,  soon  learned  that  he  was  as 
vain  as  he  was  weak,  and  they  wound  him 
around  their  finger  by  a  little  fulsome  flattery 
and  bragging  on  him  as  being  the  greatest  Gen- 
eral in  all  the  world.  Yet  his  presence  was  a 
dreadful  affliction  to  the  place.  They 
greatly  feared  and  despised  him,  and  there 
were  few  in  the  town  but  that  rejoiced  when  he 
was  taken  away.  His  successor  was,  we  believe. 
Gen.  ^leredith,  of  Indiana — a  soldier  and  a 
gentleman,  and  better  still,  a  man  of  good  sound 
sense.  His  presence  gave  cheer  and  hope  again 
to  the  people,  and  once  more  men  could  go  and 
come  from  their  homes  to  their  business  with- 
out fear  and  trembling.  The  result  was,  the 
business  and  the  prospects  of  the  town  were 
soon  in  the  most  flourishing  condition.  Then, 
some  of  the  commandants  of  the  post  in  the 
town  were  sometimes  cursed  with  painfully  offi- 
cious and  dishonest  Provost  Marshals.  And 
when  one  of  these  fellows  was  in  command  of 
the  Provost  guards  that  patroled  the  city,  and 
did  police  duty,  he  had  it  in  his  power  and  some- 
times did  perpetrate  scandulous  outrages  upon 
private  citizens.  The}"  were  blackmailers, 
clothed  with  power  to  compel  terms  from  their 
victims.  The  people  had  to  appease  these  sharks 
bj-  frequent  voluntari/  subscriptions  to  buy  pres- 
ents from  their  admirers,  in  the  way  of  fine 
swords,  horses,  watches,  and  champagne,  cigars 
and  whisky.  These  subscriptions  were  taken 
up  b}-  passing  around  a  subscription  paper,  and 
each  man  would  put  down  his  name  and  not 
less    than    S5,    and    thus    he    paid    his   tax 


to  be  let  alone  so  that  he  could  carry  on  his 
business.  It  is  incredible  how  many  ways  these 
rascals  could  invent  to  bring  men  face  to  face 
with  the  alternatives  of  blood-moue}',  or  iron 
manacles.  A  specimen  that  may  illustrate  all: 
A  large  lot  of  rebel  prisoners  were  passing 
through  town,  after  the  Fort  Donelson  fight, 
and  they  were  standing  in  front  of  the  business 
houses  on  the  levee;  the  weather  was  wretched, 
and  the  poor  creatures  were  the  picture  of  dis- 
comfort ;  they  wanted  clothing,  food,  and,  es- 
pecialh',  tobacco.  At  a  tobacco  store  where 
several  prisoners  had  begged  a  little  tobacco, 
two  or  three  rebel  officers  entered  "and  wanted 
some  of  the  weed,  and  all  the  mone}-  they  had 
was  Confederate  bills.  The  tobacco  was^iven 
to  them,  onl}-  a  few  plugs,  and  the  Confederate 
money  was  taken  as  a  curiosity.  The  Provost- 
Marshal  a  few  days  after  arrested  the  members 
of  the  firm  and  fined  them  $100  for 
taking  Confederate  money.  They  paid  the 
bill,  and,  of  course,  the  Government  never  saw 
a  cent  of  the  money.  "  Oh,  patriotism  !  patriot- 
ism !  what  atrocities  have  been  committed  in 
thy  name."  Another  instance  of  legal  honesty 
will  suffice  for  our  purpose,  without  any  further 
reference  to  the  thousands  of  others  of  a  char- 
acter incomparably  worse  :  An  official  ap- 
proached a  merchant  and  wanted  to  buy  fort}- 
or  fifty  suits  of  clothes.  He  said  he  did  not 
care  what  they  were  so  they  were  cheap,  very 
cheap,  anything,  any  style,  second-hand  or 
rebel  captured  uniforms,  or  anything  else  that 
could  be  classed  as  suits.  The  goods  were 
promptly  got  ready  for  delivery  at  about  §2  50 
a  suit.  The  officer  looked  at  them,  took  them 
and  instructed  the  merchant  to  make  out  his 
bill  at  §22.50  a  suit.  And  upon  his  paying  in 
cash  the  difference  in  the  real  price  and  the 
bill,  he  received  his  voucher  for  the  whole 
amount. 

When  the  Union  forces  wrested  the  Missis- 
sippi river  from  the  grasp  of  the  rebels,  and 
made  this  orreat  hi^hwav  again  a  free  channel 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


67 


of  travel  and  commerce,  then,  indeed,  were  the 
floodgates  of  prosperity  once  more  opened  to 
Cairo,  and  the  town  as  the  gateway  between  the 
Mississippi  Valley  and  the  South  was  the  busiest 
place  of  its  size  on  the  continent.  On  every 
train  and  on  ever}'  steamboat  the  tide  of  hu- 
manity poured  through  the  town.  The  steam- 
boats, freighted  to  the  very  waters  edge,  going 
and  coming,  filled  the  rivers,  and  da}-  and  night 
they  were  struggling  and  almost  fighting  for 
room  at  our  wharves  to  load  and  unload  their 
cargoes.  The  Ohio  levee,  from  one  end  to  the 
other,  was  covered  with  freight  in  great  rows 
and  piles  in  bewildering  quantities.  The  marine- 
ways  and  docks  from  here  to  Pittsburgh  were 
building  boats  as  fast  as  they  could,  and  every 
da}',  almost,  new  and  elegant  ones  rounded  to 
at  our  wharf,  and  yet  they  were  wholly  inad- 
equate to  carry  the  immense  merchandise  that 
was  awaiting  shipments.  The  railroads  were 
taxed  until  they  cried  "  peccavi !  "  And  it  is  a 
well-known  fact  that  property  amounting  to 
millions  of  dollars  awaited  shipment  over  the 
Illinois  Central  Railroad,  at  stations  where  there 
being  no  room  in  the  depots,  it  was  exposed  to 
the  weather  and  rotted.     To  all  this  there  came 


a  corresponding  horde  of  people  to  Cairo — per- 
manent and  temporary  sojourners.  The  hotels, 
boarding  houses,  tenement  and  everything  in 
the  shape  of  a  house  was  crowded  to  suffocation  ; 
new  houses  were  at  once  being  rapidly  con- 
structed and  the  universal  cry  was  for  more. 
Rents  went  to  fanciful  figures,  and  in  a  short 
time  it  was  impossible  to  tell  how  many  people 
were  here.  Lots,  leases,  houses,  rents  and 
nearly  all  Cairo  property  went  balooning  away 
in  a  gay  style — sailing  up  and  up  as  grandly 
and  to  as  dizzy  heights  as  a  Fourth  of  July 
orator's  eagle.  As  said,  the  transient  pop- 
ulation was  immense.  In  1864,  it  was  even  es- 
timated, counting  the^floating  population,  that 
there  were  nearly  12,000  people  here,  although 
the  vote  at  that  time  had  never  reached  a  thou- 
sand. In  other  words,  the  population  was 
estimated  greater  then  than  the  census  has  smce 
shown  it  to  be,  although  the  last  general  elec- 
tion showed  there  were  over  1,800  voters.  In 
other  words,  the  census  of  1880  shows  a  pop- 
ulation of  a  little  less  than  10,000  people.  And  it 
is  estimated  now  that  the  actual  number  of  in- 
habitants here  is  a  fraction  over  12,000. 


CHAPTER  IV. 


DECIDEDLY  A  CAIRO  CHAriER— CAIRO  AND  ITS  DIFFERENT  BODIES  POLITIC  AND  CORPoRATE- 

CAIRO   CITY    AND   BANK    OF   CAIRO  — CAIRO    AND    CANAL    COMPANY  — CAIRO    CITY 

PROPERTY— TRUSTEES  OF  THE  C.\IRO   TRUST    PROPERTY— THE    ILLINOIS 

EXPORTING    COMPANY  — D.    B.    HOLBROOK— JUSTIN    BUTTEll- 

FI ELD— RECAPITULATION,  ETC.,   ETC. 


AT  a  time  simultaneous  with,  or  just  prior 
to,  the  coming  of  the  nineteenth  century, 
the  delta  formed  by  the  jimction  of  the  Mis- 
sissippi and  Ohio  Rivers  began  to  attract  the 
attention  of  far-seeing  men,  as  one  of  the 
futiu'e  important  points  upon  the  continent. 
And  from  the  time  the  fii'st  white  man's  eyes 


ever  beheld  it,  210  years  ago,  as  Joliet  and 
Marquette  and  their  little  party,  consisting 
of  five  men  besides  themselves,  floated  around 
the  point  of  land  that  forms  the  extreme 
southern  limit  of  Illinois,  and  with  joy  and 
gladness  beheld  the  beautiful  blue  Ohio 
River,  and  by  this,  their   marvelous   voyage 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


of  discovery,  placed   this    great    Mississippi 
Valley  under  the    segis  of  France  and  Papal 
Christendom,   and  thereby  inaugurated  that 
tremendous   world's    drama   that   continued 
during  more   than    ninety  years,    in   which 
France  and  the  Church  were  such  conspicuous 
actors;  we  say,  from  this  date  on,  the  little  strip 
of  land  on  which  the  city  of  Cairo  stands  at- 
tracted the  attention  of  men,    and  presented 
something  of  its  prospective  importance  to  the 
entire    Christian  world.     At  the  time  of  its 
discovery,    nearly  all    nations   were  more  or 
less    involved    in  wars  of    conquest    and  in- 
vasion— those  mighty  struggles    for  suprem- 
acy  in   civilization,  that  were  the  most  im- 
portant factors  in  the  present  advanced  state 
of    mankind,    and   especially    that    splendid 
civilization  that  has   been  spread    broadcast 
over   the   world   by  the   Anglo-Saxon   race. 
Hence,  for  more  than  a  century  after  the  dis- 
covery of    the  point  of    junction   of   the  two 
great  rivers,  situated  almost  in  the  center  of 
the  inhabitable  portions  of  the  continent  of 
North  America,  its  transcendent  importance, 
in  a  military  point  of  view,  were  studied  and 
well     comprehended    by     all    the    military 
powers  of  Europe.     Its  wonderful  undevel- 
oped and  almost  unclaimed  commercial  value 
and  inexhaustible  productions  were  but  little 
considered  until   the  long  Revolutionary  war 
had  been  fought  out,  and  peace  had  begun  to 
win  those  triumphs  that  have  resulted  in  the 
present  rich  and  prosperous  nation  of  more 
than  fifty  millions  of  people. 

A  lai'ge  number  of  incorporation  acts,  dat- 
ing back  even  to  the  TeiTitorial  times  of 
Illinois,  have  been  enacted,  and  a  somewhat 
extended  notice  of  these  legislative  doings 
is  made  of  great  importance,  from  the  fact 
that  in  the  attempt  to  make  laws  for  found- 
ing a  city  here  there  resulted  the  most  im- 
portant legislation,  in  both  the  State  Legis- 
lature and  the  Congress  of  the  United  States, 


for  the  entii'e  State  of  Illinois,  that  have 
ever  been  placed  upon  the  statute  books; 
wise  laws,  that  have  brought  Illinois  from 
a  sparsely  settled,  banki'upt  and  unpromis- 
ing waste  and  wilderness,  to  the  position  of 
the  first  State  in  the  Union  in  many  of  the 
leading  agricultiu-al  products,  as  well  as  in 
railroads  and  all  that  tends  to  make  a  rich, 
prosperous  and  happy  people. 

On  the  9th  day  of  January,  1818,  the  Ter- 
ritorial   Legislature  concluded  the  time  had 
come  that  imperatively  demanded  that  a  city 
be  founded  here,  and  on  that  day  it  passed 
an  act  for  the  incorporation  of  the  "City  and 
Bank  of  Cairo  in  the  State  of  Illinois;"  the 
incorporators,  consisting  of  John  G.  Comyges, 
Thomas     H.    Harris,     Thomas    F.     Herbert, 
Shadrach     Bond,    Michael     Jones,    "Warren 
Brown,  Edward  Humphreys  and  Charles  W. 
Hunter,  who  had    entered  a  certain  tract  of 
land  between  the  Ohio  and  Mississippi  Rivers 
and  near  the    junction  of   the   same.      This 
land  included  Fractional  Sections  14,  15,  22, 
23,  24,  25,    26,  and  the  northeast   fractional 
quarter  of  Section  27,  Town  17  south.  Range 
1  west,    and   contained   about    1,800    aci*es. 
The  act  of  incoi'poration  is  ushered  into  the 
world  by  the  following  grandiloquent  stump 
speech:     "  And  whereas,  the  said  proprietors 
represent  that  there  is,  in  their  opinion,  no 
position  in  the  whole  extent  of  these  "Western 
States  better   calculated,  as    it  respects  com- 
mercial   advantages  and   local  supply,  for  a 
great  and   important  city,  than  that  afi'orded 
by  the  junction  of  those  two  great  highways, 
the  Mississippi  and    Ohio  Rivers.     But  that 
nature,  having   denied  to  the  extreme  point 
formed  by  their  union,  a  sufi&cient  degree  of 
elevation  to  protect  the  improvements  made 
thereon,    from  the   ordinary    inundations  of 
the   adjacent   waters,  such   elevation  is  to  be 
found  only  upon  the  tract   above  mentioned 
and  described.     [It  must  be  borne  in  mind 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


that  this  is  one  way  of  putting  it  that  the 
town  site  only  commenced  at  the  north  line 
of  Bird'p  land,  which  was  not  included  in 
the  town  plat.]  So  that  improvements  and 
property  made  and  located  thereon  [no  sem- 
blance of  levees  then  made]  may  be  deemed 
perfectly  safe  and  absolutely  secure  from  all 
such  ordinary  inundations,  and  liable  to  injury 
only  from  the  concurrence  of  unusually  high 
and  simultaneous  inundations  in  both  of  said 
rivers,  an  event  which  is  alleged  but  rarely 
to  happen,  and  the  injurious  consequenijes  of 
which  it  is  considered  practicable,  by  proper 
embankments,  wholly  and  effectually  and 
permanently  to  obviate.  And  whereas,  there 
is  no  doubt  that  a  city  erected  at,  or  as  near 
as  practicable,  to  the  junction  of  the  Ohio 
and  Mississippi  Rivers,  provided  it  be  thus 
secured  by  sufi&cient  embankments,  or  in 
such  other  way  as  experience  may  prove  most 
efficacious  for  that  purpose,  from  every  such 
extraordinary  inundation,  must  necessarily 
become  a  place  of  vast  consequence  to  the 
prosperity  of  this  growing  Territory,  and,  in 
fact,  to  that  of  the  greater  part  of  the  in- 
habitants of  these  Western  States.  And 
whereas,  the  above-named  proprietors  are 
desirous  of  erecting  such  city,  under  the 
sanction  and  patronage  of  the  Legislature 
of  this  TeiTitory,  and  also  of  providing  by 
law  for  the  security  and  prosperity  of  the 
same,  and  to  that  end  propose  to  appropriate 
one-third  part  of  all  money  arising  from  the 
sale  and  disposition  of  the  lots  into  which 
the  same  be  surveyed,  as  a  fund  for  the  con- 
struction and  preservation  of  such  dykes, 
levees  and  other  embankments  as  may  be 
necessary  to  render  the  same  perfectly 
secui-e;  and  also,  if  such  fund  shall  be 
deemed  sufficient  thereto,  for  the  erection  of 
public  edifices  and  such  other  improvements 
in  the  said  city  as  may  be,  from  time  to  time, 
considered  expedient  and  practicable,  and  to 


appropriate  the  two-thirds  part  of  the  said 
purchase- moneys  to  the  operation  of  bank- 
ing. And  whereas,  it  is  considered  that  an 
act  to  incorporate  the  said  proprietors  and 
their  associates,  viz.,  all  such  persons  as 
shall,  by  purchase  or  otherwise,  hereafter 
become  proprietors  of  the  tract  above  men 
tioned  and  described,  as  a  body  corporate 
and  politic,  while  it  guarantees  to  all  those 
who  may  become  freeholders  or  residents 
within  the  said  city  the  fullest  security  as 
to  their  habitations  and  property,  will  at  the 
same  time  concentrate  the  views  and  facili- 
tate the  operations  of  the  said  proprietors 
and  their  said  associates  in  rendering  the 
said  city  secure  from  all  such  inundations  as 
aforesaid,  and  in  promoting  the  internal 
prosperity  of  the  same. "  After  this  extraor- 
dinary line  of  whereases,  the  Legislature  pro- 
ceeds to  regularly  incorporate  the  "  City  and 
Bank  of  Cairo" — the  city  to  be  here,  at  the 
junction  of  the  rivers,  and  the  bank  tempo- 
rarily to  be,  and  transact  business  in,  the  town 
of  Kaskaskia,  giving  the  body  corporate  the 
title  of  the  "  President,  Directors  and  Com- 
pany of  the  Bank  of  Cairo, "  requiring  John 
Gr.  Comyges  and  his  associates,  within  the 
space  of  nine  months  from  the  passing  of  this 
act,  to  proceed  to  lay  off,  on  such  town  site, 
a  city,  to  be  known  and  distinguished  by  the 
name  of  Cairo;  which  shall  consist  of  not 
less  than  2,000  lots,  each  lot  being  not  less 
than  sixty-six  feet  wide  and  120  feet  deep, 
and  the  streets  of  said  city  to  be  not  less  than 
eighty  feet  wide,  and  to  run,  as  near  as  may 
be,  at  right  angles  to  each  other;  that  the 
price  of  the  said  lots  shall  be  fixed  and 
limited  at  $150  each,  and  appropriating  the 
money  arising  from  the  sale  of  lots  as  fol- 
lows. Two-thirds  part  thereof,  that  is  to 
say,  the  sum  of  $100  on  each  lot  sold,  shall 
constitute  the  capital  stock  of  the  bank; 
dividing  the  capital  stock  into  twice  as  many 


70 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


shares  as  there  are  lots,  the  one-half  of  which 
shares  shall  belong  to  the  purchasers  of  said 
lots,  in  the  proportion  of  one  share  to  each 
lot,  and  the  remaining  of  the  shares  shall 
be  the  property  of  the  said  John  G.  Corny ges 
and  his  associates,  their  heirs  and  assigns,  in 
proportion  to  the  interest  they  may  hold  in 
the  same  respectively;  the  remaining  one- 
third  part  of  the  piu'chase- money  to  consti- 
tute a  fund  to  be  exclusively  appropriated  to 
the  security  and  improvement  of  said  city; 
the  said  Comyges  and  associates  are  author- 
ized to  appoint  so  many  commissioners  as 
they  may  deem  necessary,  to  receive  sub- 
scriptions for  the  purchase  of  lots;  they  are 
required,  upon  any  person  applying  to 
make  such  purchase  of  subscription,  to  direct 
the  person  so  applying  to  deposit  to  the  credit 
of  the  Bank  of  Cairo,  in  the  Bank  of  the 
United  States,  or  in  the  nearest  chartered 
bank,  one-third  of  the  purchase  money,  in 
three  and  six  months'  payments.  Then  it 
provides  that  no  subscription  shall  be  re- 
ceived from  any  person  for  more  than  ten  of 
said  lots.  When  oOO  lots  have  been  sub- 
scribed for,  the  Commissioners  are  to  call  a 
meeting  of  such  subscribers  at  Kaskaskia,  and 
elect  from  their  body  thirteen  Directors,  who 
were  to  hold  office  one  year,  and  then  these 
Directors  are  to  choose,  by  ballot,  a  Presi- 
dent; authorizing  them  to  prescribe  by-laws 
and  regulations,  and  defining  the  duties  of 
the  officers;  the  Directors  are  at  once  to  dis- 
tribute by  lot  among  the  subscribers,  the 
niimber  each  is  entitled  to  receive,  anc?  to 
make  deeds  therefor  upon  full  and  final 
payment,  and  they  are  imperatively  required 
to  receive  all  moneys  deposited  to  their  credit 
in  other  banks,  and  thereupon  to  "commence 
their  operations  as  a  banking  company." 
Provision  is  then  made  that  the  total  amount 
of  debts  which  the  bank  may  at  any  time 
owe   shall    not    exceed  twice   the  amount  of 


the  capital  stock  actually  paid  into  said  bank; 
making  the  bills  of  credit,  under  the  seal  of 
the  corporation,  assignable  by  indorsement, 
as  well  as  making  all  bills  or  notes  which 
may  be  issued  by  the  corporation,  in  pay- 
ment, though  not  under  seal,  binding  and 
obligatoi'y  as  upon  any  private  person  or  per- 
sons; the  bank  is  required  to  make  half-year- 
ly dividends  of  profits;  requiring  each  Cash- 
ier, before  entering  upon  the  duties  of  his 
office,  to  give  bond  and  security  to  the  amount 
of  SlOjOOO,  and  each  clerk  in  the  bank  to 
give,  like  bond  to  the  amount  of  .f  2,000;  lim- 
its the  interest  on  loans  made  by  the  bank 
to  six  per  cent.  It  then  provides  for  the  ap- 
pointment of  three  of  the  Directors,  a  Com- 
mittee, to  have  the  charge  and  management 
of  all  that  portion  of  the  purchase  moneys 
above  set  apart,  and  appropriated  as  a  fund 
for  the  security  and  improvement  of  said 
city;  and  which  fund,  or  such  portion  there- 
of as  the  said  Committee  shall  deem  proper 
and  advisable,  shall  be  invested  in  stock  of 
said  bank,  the  said  Directors  being  author- 
ized and  required  to  add  to  the  capital  stock 
so  many  shares  as  shall  be  sufficient  to  take 
in  the  same,  at  the  par  value  of  the  stock. 
Section  20  explicitly  requires  that  it  shall  be 
the  duty  of  the  Directors,  immediately  after 
their  election,  to  appoint  tiu'ee  persons  not 
of  their  own  body,  but  who  shall  be  remov- 
able at  the  pleasure  of  the  Directors,  who 
shall  be  citizens  of  Illinois,  and  even  res- 
idents of  Cairo,  if  competent  and  judicious 
persons  can  be  found  in  the  city,  who  shall 
be  styled  "  The  Board  of  Secm-ity  and  Im- 
provement of  the  City  of  Cairo,"  which 
board,  or  a  majority  thereof,  shall,  under 
the  sanction  of  the  Directors  of  the  said 
bank  first  had  and  obtained,  direct  and 
superintend  the  construction  and  preserva- 
tion of  such  dykes,  levees  and  embankments 
as  may  be   necessary  for  the   security  of  the 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


71 


city  of  Cairo,  and  every  part  thereof,  from 
all  and  every  inundation  which  can  possibly 
affect  or  injiu'e  the  same;  and  the  erection, 
fiom  time  to  time,  of  such  public  works  and 
improvements  as  the  state  of  such  fund  will 
justify.  They  ai-e  authorized  to  increase  the 
cai')ital  stock,  but  it  shall  never  exceed  the 
sum  of  $500,000.  Section  23  commands 
that  the  corporation  shall  not  at  any  time 
suspend,  or  refuse  payment  in'gold  and  silver 
for  any  of  its  notes,  bills  or  obligations,  nor 
any  moneys  received  on  deposit  in  the  bank 
or  in  its  office  of  discount  and  deposit,  and 
if  at  any  time  such  default  is  made,  then 
the  bank  shall  forfeit  12  per  cent  per  annum 
from  the  time  of  such  demand.  The  twenty- 
foui'th  and  last  section  declares  this  to  be  a 
public  act,  "and  that  the  same  be  construed  in 
all  courts  and  places  benignly  and  favor- 
ably." 

Such  was  the  gi'and  scheme  of  the  Illinois 
Territory  for  founding  here  a  city.  To  some 
extent,  it  was  running  counter  to  the  world's 
experience,  namely,  to  start  the  bank  and 
the  embryo  city  at  one  and  the  same  time, 
and  require  the  bank  to  build  the  city  and 
the  city  make  rich  and  strong  the  bank.  It 
was  a  species  of  legislative  financial  wisdom 
that  might  be  likened  unto  the  old  saying  of 
making  one  hand  wash  the  other.  They  pro- 
longed their  vision  into  their  future  and  our 
present  time,  and  dreamed  golden  day-dreams 
of  all  Illinois — at  least  all  the  part  of  it 
soiith  of  Kaskaskia.  They  thought,  perhaps, 
of  Romulus  and  Eome  and  the  she- wolf ;  of 
St.  Petersburg  and  Peter  the  Great;  of  Ven- 
ice and  her  gondoliers,  and  her  soft  moon- 
light and  music;  of  Alexandi'ia,  in  Lower 
Egypt,  with  her  great  forests  of  masts  in  her 
harbor,  and  her  temples  and  towers  and 
steeples  and  minarets  glittering  in  the  morn- 
ing sun — the  proud  mistress  of  the  world,  in 
wealth,  commerce,  intelligence,  prowess  and 


glory — and  their  souls  were  fired  with  no 
less  an  ambition  than  to  rival  and  surpass  all 
these,  and,  therefore,  to  found  and  build  here 
a  great  and  eternal  city.  They  knew  of  the 
Egyptian  Cairo,  lying  midway  between  Eu- 
rope, Asia,  the  Mediterranean  Sea  and  the 
north  of  Africa;  of  St.  Petersbiu-g,  where  the 
Gulf  of  Finland,  ,  the  Black  Sea  and  the 
White  Sea,  the  Baltic  and  the  Caspian  pour 
in  their  wealth  upon  *^her,  through  the  Dnie- 
per and  Dniester,  the  Neva,  the  Dwina  and 
the  Volga,  with  all  their  ten  thousand  reser- 
voirs, by  the  help  of  her  great  canal  system, 
giving  her  a  direct  navigation  of  4,000  miles, 
fi'om  St.  Petersburg  to  the  borders  of  China. 
They  looked  upon  New  York  and  her  vast 
navigation;  upon  New  Orleans,  whose  waters 
di'ained  a  great  empii'e.  They,  doubtless, 
unrolled  the  world's  map,  and  'there  noticed 
that  there  are  certain  points  that  engage  the 
attention  of  mankind;  that  these^'points  are 
centers  of  civilization,  and  in  all  time  they 
have  been  found  where  vast  bodies  of  water 
meet,  and  large,  populous  and  fertile  terri- 
tories converge,  giving  the  most  favorable 
conditions  for  colonization,  supply  and  de- 
fense. There  cannot  be  a  doubt  that,  in  the 
estimate  they  put  upon  the  natural  point  at 
Cairo,  they  were  wholly  cori'ect,  however 
much  they  may  have  been  mistaken  in  the 
legislative  machinery  they  deemed  it  wise  to 
put  in  motion  to  start  into  being  the  young 
city. 

John  R.  Corny ges  was  the  moving  and  mas- 
ter spirit  in  the  inception  and  origin  of  the 
"  City  and  Bank  of  Cairo"  scheme.  He  at- 
tended upon  the  Legislature,  and  unfolded 
his  vast  enterprise  in  such  glowing  terms  that 
that  body  made  haste  to  grant  his  every  re- 
quest. He  must  have  inspired  those  won- 
derfully-constructed "  whereases  "  that  were 
enacted  into  a  law.  And  it  must  have  been 
his  busy  brain  that  conceived   the   dashing 


73 


HISTOEY  OF  CAIRO. 


idea  of  first  founding  a  wild-cat  bank  in  the 
wild  jungles,  the  oozing  mai-shes  and  among 
the  festive  frogs  of  the  Delta,  and  upon  this 
South  Sea  Bubble  to  lay  the  foundation  of  a  • 
great  city,  where  men  should  "  build  for  the 
ages  unafraid. " 

This,  the  earliest  effort  to  start  a  city  here, 
to  fix  a  "  base  whereon  these  ashlars,  well 
hewn,  may  be  laid,"  although  so  generously 
aided  by  the  Territorial  Legislature,  came  to 
naught,  by  the  death  of  Comyges,  just  as  he 
was  about  to  visit  the  capitalists  of  Europe, 
to  enlist  their  aid  and  interests  in  the  grand 
and  promising  scheme.  The  company  had 
entered  the  land  on  the  old  credit  system, 
and  had  sui'veyed  and  platted  the  town,  and 
were  pushing  every  department  under  favor- 
ing prospects,  when  the  sudden  death  of  their 
organizer  and  leader,  when  there  was  no  one 
to  take  his  place,  spread  such  general  doubts 
and  dismay  among  the  stockholders,  that  the 
enterprise  collapsed  and  passed  away,  and 
the  title  to  the  land  reverted  to  the  Govern- 
ment. 

A  pai't  of  the  interest  that  now  attaches  to 
this  original  Cairo  Company  is  the  record  it 
made  as  to  the  knowledge  men  possessed 
sixty-five  years  ago,  as  to  the  high  waters  in 
our  rivers,  and  how  much  we  have  learned  by 
the  intervening  experiences  between  then  ana 
now.  In  the  prospectus,  it  stated  to  the  world : 
"It  remains  only  to  be  shown  that  the  want, 
in  this  tract,  of  sufficient  material  elevation 
presents  but  an  inconsidrable  obstacle  to  its 
future  greatness.  To  prove  this  fact,  it  be- 
comes necessary  to  advert  to  the  provisions 
contained  in  the  charter  and  the  report  of 
the  Surveyor,  Maj.  Duncan,  who,  at  the  re- 
quest of  the  proprietors,  undertook  to  run 
the  exterior  limits  and  to  ascertain  the  eleva- 
tion of  the  ground;  from  which  report  it 
will  appear  that  an  embankment  of  the 
average   height  of    five  feet   will   secure   it 


effectually  against  the  highest  swells  in  both 
rivers.  It  may  here  be  proper  to  state  that 
much  of  this  tract  is  already  high,  and  quite 
as  eligible  for  warehouses  and  other  build- 
ings as  many  of  the  most  flourishing  stations 
on  the  Ohio."  They  carefully  estimated, 
from  their  engineers'  reports,  that  $20,000 
would  build  all  the  levees  around  Cairo  to 
forever  secure  it  against  any  possible  waters 
in  the  rivers. 

Cairo  City  &  Canal  Company. — On  the 
4th  of  March,  1837,  the  Illinois  Legislatui-e 
incorporated  Darius  B.  Holbrook,  Miles  A. 
Gilbert,  John  S.  Hacker,  Alexander  M.  Jen- 
kins, Anthony  Olney  and  William  M.  Wal- 
ker as  a  body  corporate  and  politic,  under 
the  name  of  the  "Cairo  City  &  Canal  Com- 
pany;" giving  the  usual  powers  of  a  charter 
company,  and  to  own  and  hardle  real  estate, 
but  providing  that  "  the  real  estate  owned 
and  held  by  said  company  shall  not  exceed 
the  quantity  of  land  embraced  in  Fractional 
Township  17,  in  Alexander  County,  and  the 
said  corporation  are  hereby  authorized  to  piu-- 
chase  said  land,  or  any  part  thereof,  but 
more  particularly  the  tract  of  land  incorpo- 
rated as  the  city  of  Cairo,  and  may  proceed 
to  lay  off  said  land,  or  any  part  of  the  land  of 
said  Township  17,  into  lots  for  a  town,  to  be 
known  as  the  city  of  Cairo,  and  whenever  a 
plan  of  said  city  is  made,  the  company  shall 
deposit  a  copy  of  the  same,  with  a  full  de- 
scription thereof,  in  the  Recorder  of  Deeds' 
office  in  the  C  unfy  of  Alexander.  *  *  * 
And  the  said  corporation  may  construct 
dykes,  canals,  levees  and  embankiuents  for 
the  sec;u-ity  and  preservation  of  said  city  and 
land  and  all  improvements  thereon,  from  all 
and  every  inundation  which  can  possibly 
affect  or  injui*e  the  same,  and  may  erect  such 
works,  buildings  and  improvements  which 
they  may  deem  necessary  for  promoting  the 
health  and  prosperity  of  said  city.     And  for 


HISTORY  OF  CAIKO. 


73 


draining  said  city,  and  other  purposes,  said 
corporation  may  lay  off  and  construct  a  canal, 
to  unite  with  Cache  Kiver,  at  such  point  of 
such  river  as  the  company  may  deem  most 
eligible  and  proper,  and  may  use  the  water  of 
sa^id  river  for  said  canal,  running  to  and 
through  said  city  of  Cairo,  as  said  company 
may  direct.  *  *  *  *  The  capital  stock 
of  the  company  shall  consist  of  20,000  shares, 
and  no  greater  assessment  shall  be  laid  upon 
any  shares  in  said  company  of  a  greater 
amount  than  §100  each  share.  And  the  im- 
mediate government  and  direction,  of  the 
affairs  of  said  company  shall  be  vested  in 
a  board  of  not  less  than  five  Directors,  who 
shall  be  chosen  by  the  members  of  the  cor- 
poration in  manner  hereinafter  provided,  a 
majority  of  whom  shall  form  a  quorum  for 
the  transaction  of  business;  shall  elect  one 
of  their  number  to  be  President  of  the 
Board,  who   shall    also  be   President  of   the 


company. 


*     *     *     * 


The  President  and 


Directors  for  the  time  being  are  hereby  au- 
thorized and  empowered,  by  themselves  or 
their  agents,  to  execute  all  powers  herein 
gi'anted  to  the  company,  and  all  such  other 
powers  and  authority  for  the  management  of 
the  affairs  of  the  company  not  heretofore 
granted,  as  may  be  proper  and  necessary  to 
carry  into  effect  the  object  of  this  act,  and  to 
make  such  equal  assessments,  from  time  to 
time,  on  all  shares  of  said  company  as  they 
may  deem  expedient  and  necessary,  and 
direct  the  same  to  be  paid  m  to  the  Treasurer 
of  the  company;  and  the  Treasurer  shall  give 
notice  of  all  such  assessments,  and  in  case 
any  subscriber  shall  neglect  to  pay  his  as- 
sessment for  the  spice  of  thirty  days  due 
notice  by  the  Treasurer  of  said  company,  the 
Directors  may  order  the  Treasurer  to  sell 
such  share  or  shares  at  public  auction,  after 
giving  due  notice  thereof,  to  the  highest 
bidder,  and  the  same  shall  be  transferred  to 


the  purchaser,  and  such  delinquent  subscriber 
shall  be  held  accountable  to  the  company  for 
the  balance.  *  *  *  *  ^  toll  is  hereby 
granted  and  established,  for  the  benefit  of 
said  company,  upon  all  passengers  an  d  prop- 
erty of  all  descriptions  which  may  be  con- 
veyed or  transported  upon  the  canal  of  the 
company,  upon  such  terms  as  may  be  agreed 
upon  and  established,  from  time  to  time,  by 
the  Directors  of  said  company.  That  the 
company  shall  not  be  authorized  by  this  act 
to  erect  or  construct  any  dam  or  dams  upon 
or  across  Cache  River,  for  the  purpose  afore- 
said, until  they  shall  first  have  obtained  the 
consent  of  the  County  Commissioners'  Court 
of  Alexander  County,  which  consent .  so  ob- 
tained shall  be  entered  upon  the  recoi'ds  of 
said  court;  and  whenever  the  route  on  said 
canal  shall  be  located,  the  company  shall 
have  recorded  a  plan  and  description  thei*eof 
in  the  office  of  the  Recorder  of  Deeds  and 
the  office  of  said  County  Commissioners' 
Court,  in  Alexander  County.  The  said  com- 
pany shall  be  holden  to  pay  all  damages  that 
may  arise  to  any  person  or  corporation,  by 
taking  their  land  for  said  canal  or  any  other 
invrpose  when  it  cannot  be  obtained  by  volun- 
tary agreement,  to  be  estimated  and  re- 
covered in  4he  manner  provided  by  law,  for 
the  recovering  of  damages  happening  by  lay- 
ing out  highways.  When  the  lands,  or 
other  property  or  estate  of  any  femme-covert, 
infant  or  person  non  comj)os  mentis,  shall  be 
wanted  for  the  purposes  and  objects  of  the 
company,  the  guardian  of  said  infant  or  per- 
soni  non  compos  mentis,  or  husband  of  such 
femme-covert,  may  release  all  damage  and 
interest  for  and  in  such  lands  or  estate 
taken  for  the  company  as  they  ^might  do  if 
the  same  were  holden  by  them  in  their  own 
right  respectively  This  act  shall  be  deemed 
and  taken  as  a  public  act.  It  shall  continue 
in  force   for  the  term  of   twenty-five   years 


74 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


from  the  passage  thereof.  The  final  section 
requires  that  -unless  §20.000  is  expended  on 
the  canal  within  five  years  from  the  date  of 
the  act,  it  shall  be  forfeited.  In  February, 
1839,  the  Legislature  amended  that  act  as 
follows:  "  "that  the  said  Cairo  City  & 
Canal  Company  shall  not  be  obliged,  as  au- 
thorized by  its  charter,  to  lay  ofi"  and  con- 
struct a  canal  to  unite  with  Cache  River, 
should  the  same  be  deemed  injurious  to  the 
health  of  the  city — and  the  twelfth  section  of 
said  act.  which  requires  a  certain  amount  to 
be  expended  on  said  canal  within  five  years, 
is  hereby  repealed." 

We  have  given  verbatim  enough  of  this 
remarkable  charter,  in  its  ultimate  results 
one  of  the  most  important  that  .was  ever 
gi-anted  by  the  State  of  Illinois,  for  the 
reader  to  see  for  himself  that  it  is  one  of 
two  things,  namely,  either  the  most  amazing 
in  the  complete  simplicity  of  its  author's 
ideas,  or  Machiavelian  in  its  transcendant 
ability  to  hide  the  iron  hand  beneath  the  vel- 
vet glove.  No  State  document  was  ever 
drafted  that  could  look  more  innocent,  and 
at  the  same  time  appropriate  to  itself  com- 
plete and  sovereign  and  autocratic  powers, 
in  the  name  of  building  a  canal  from  the 
mouth  of  Cache  River  to  and  through  the 
city  of  Cairo  to  the  extreme  southern  point 
of  land.  If  the  company  ever  thought  of 
building  a  canal  from  the  mouth  of  Cache 
through  the  city,  they  would  not  only  have 
to  curve  it  several  times  on  its  route,  to  keep 
the  canal  from  running  into  the  river,  but 
they  must  have  known  they  would  Lave  to 
erect  great  and  sti'ong  artificial  levees  on 
both  sides  of  their  canal  to  prevent  both  rivers 
from  rushing  from  their  long-occupied  beds, 
with  an  angry  roar,  souse  into  the  canal.  On 
the  other  hand,  if  they  never  did  contemplate 
building  the  canal,  then,  indeed,  is  its  mas- 
terly shrewdness   patent  at  a   glance.     Cer- 


tainly, even  an  Illinois  Legislature  would 
have  discovered  the  cat  in  the  meal-tub  had 
the  incorporators  gone  before  them  and 
asked  for  a  charter  to  found  a  city,  and, 
without  any  canal  attachment,  asked  for  such 
complete  powers  of  the  right  of  eminent 
domain  over  private  property,  real  and  per- 
sonal! If  they  ever  intended  to  build  a 
canal,  they  were  soon  cured  of  that  hallucina- 
tion, as  is  shown  by  the  amendment  of  1S39, 
which  simply  permits  the  whole  canal  scheme 
to  be  dropped,  and  yet  leaves  all  the  great 
powers  that  were  originally  gi-anted  the  com- 
pany intact.  So  far  as  can  now  be  ascer- 
tained, the  company  never  abused  or  exer- 
cised to  the  ill  of  any  one  these  powers  con- 
ferred by  the  charter.  If  there  was  a  pur- 
pose Im'king  beneath  the  fair  face  of  the 
fundamental  law  of  the  new  city,  it,  perhaps, 
was  not  in  the  idea  of  its  author  to  use  it  to 
wrong  or  oppress  any  private  citizen,  and  it 
would  only  be  invoked  as  a  last  resort  to  pro- 
tect the  vital  welfare  of  the  future  city. 

As  stated  above,  this  Caii'o  City  &  Canal 
Company  charter  became  a  law  March  4, 
1837,  and  not  March  4,  1838,  as  probably 
the  compositor  made  Mose  Harrell  say,  in  a 
sketch  of  early  Cairo  that  he  published  a  few 
years  ago.  The  date  is  important,  because 
on  June  7,  1837,  "The  Illinois  Central  Rail- 
road Company,"  which  had  been  incorpor- 
ated January  16,  1836,  and  authorized  to 
construct  a  railroad,  commencing  at  or  near 
the  confluence  of  the  Ohio  and  Mississippi 
Rivers,  and  extending  to  Galena,  released  all 
its  rights  back  to  the  State  of  Illinois,  con- 
ditioned, however,  that  "the  State  of  Illinois 
shall  commence  the  conetruction  of  said  rail- 
road within  a  reasonable  |time,  and  to  com- 
mence at  the  city  of  Cairo  and  build  north 
to  Galena." 

On  the  27th  day  of  June,  1837,  there  was 
an  agreement  entered  into  between   the  orig- 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


75 


inal  Illinois  Central  Kailroad,  by  A.  M. 
Jenkins,  its  President,  and  the  Cairo  City 
&  Canal  Company,  by  D.  B.  Holbrook,  its 
President,  by  which  it  was  stipulated  the 
railroad  to  be  constructed  by  the  Illinois 
Central  Railroad  "  shall  be  commenced  at 
such  point  in  the  city  of  Cairo  as  the  Cairo 
City  &  Canal  Company  may  fix  and  direct. 
This  release  of  the  Central  Railroad  of  its 
franchise  back  to  the  State  was  caused  by 
the  wild  craze  that  had  taken  possession  of 
the  entire  State  on  the  great  internal  im- 
provement system,  that  bo  quickly  landed  the 
Commonwealth  in  bankruptcy,  and  abruptly 
stopped  all  State  progress  fox  several  years. 
This  was  a  sad  and  severe  lesson  to  the 
young  State,  but  probably  in  the  end  it  was 
for  the  best.  On  the  same  day  of  the  above 
agreement,  namely,  20th  June,  1837,  the  Cairo 
&  Canal  Company  having  obtained,  by 
purchase,  the  lands  in  Town  17  south,  Range 
1  west,  on  a  portion  of  which  had  been  laid 
out  the  city  of  Cairo,  mortgaged  the  entire 
property  to  the  New  York  Life  Insurance 
&  Trust  Company,  to  secvu*e  certain  loans 
and  moneys  advanced  by  English  capitalists. 
The  release  made  by  the  Illinois  Central 
Railroad  Company  was  accepted  by  the 
State,  on  the  conditions  imposed,  and  the 
State  commenced  at  Cairo  the  construction 
of  the  railroad,  which  the  railroad  company 
had  been  authorized  to  construct  to  Galena; 
and  the  Cairo  City  &  Canal  Company 
pressed  forward  the  improvements  it  was 
making,  upon  which,  up  to  February  1, 
1S40,  it  had  expended,  of  boiTowed  money, 
about  $1,000,000.  It  had  erected  mills, 
various  workshops  atfl  houses  for  its  em- 
ployees, and  there  had  congregated  here  about 
1,500  souls.  But  on  February  1,  1840,  the 
great  internal  improvement  system,  which 
had  been  inaugiu'atod  by  the  infatuated  State 
Legislature  of  1837,  was  repealed,  and  the 


work  upon  the  Illinois  Central  stopped,  after 
the  State  had  expended,  as  stated,  over 
$1,000,000.  While  the  bursting  of  this 
bubble  seriously  crippled,  financially,  the 
entire  people  of  the  State,  it  was  especially 
disastrous  at  Cairo.  It  was  the  work  upon 
the  railroad  that  had  brought  the  people 
here,  and  when  not  only  the  State  was  bank- 
rupt, but  the  Cairo  City  &  Canal  Company 
was  insolvent,  the  railroad  defunct,  the 
banker  of  the  company  in  England  had 
failed,  and  all  work  and  improvements  were 
abandoned,  the  people  fled,  and  desolation 
brooded  over  the  town,  where  now  "the 
spider  might  weave,  unmolested,  his  web  in 
her  palaces,  and  the  owl  hoot  his  watch  song 
in  her  temples." 

On  March  6,  1843,  the  Legislatm-e  passed 
an  act  to  incorporate  the  Great  Western 
Railway  Company.  "While  this  was  a  rail- 
road charter,  authorizing  the  construction  of 
a  railroad  upon  the  line  of  the  original 
Illinois  Central  Railroad,  yet  it  was,  in  fact, 
a  re-incorporation  of  the  Cairo  City  & 
Canal  Company.  After  the  enacting  clause, 
it  says:  "That  the  President  and  Directors 
of  the  Cairo  City  &  Canal  Company  (in- 
corporated by  the  State  of  Illinois)  and  their 
successors  in  office  be  and  they  are  hereby 
made  a  body  corporate  and  politic  under  the 
name  and  style  of  the  '  Great  Western  Rail- 
way Company,'  and  under  that  name  and 
style  shall  bo  and  are  hereby  made  capable, 
in  law  and  equity,  to  sue  and  be  sued,  de- 
feud  and  be  defended,  in  any  court  or  place 
whatsoever,  to  make,  have  and  use  a  common 
seal,  the  same  to  alter  and  renew  at  pleasure, 
and  by  that  name  and  style  be  capable  in 
law  of  contracting  and  being  conti  acted 
with,  of  purchasing,  holding  and  conveying 
away  of  real  estate  and  personal  estate  for 
the  pui-poses  and  uses  of  said  corporation; 
and  shall   be  and  are   herebv  invested  with 


76 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


all  the  powers,  privileges  and  immunities, 
which  are  or  may  be  necessary  to  carry  into 
eflect  the  object  .and  pui-poses  of  ^this  act,  as 
hereinafter  set  forth;  and  the  said  corpora- 
tion ai*e  hereby  authorized  and  empowered  to 
locate,  construct  and  finally  complete  a  rail- 
road, commencing  at  the  city  of  Cairo, 
thence  north  by  way  of  Vandalia,  etc.," 
almost  exactly  as  specified  in  the  charter  of 
the  original  Illinois  Central  Railroad. 

This  act  of  incorporation  was  mei'ely  the 
grafting  into  the  Cairo  City  &  Canal  Com- 
pany a  railroad  franchise,  which  in  no  single 
clause  diminished  the  original  powers  of  the 
Cairo  City  &  Canal  Company,  but  enlarged 
and  extended  them  throughout  the  entire 
length  of  the  State.  So  completely  were  the 
two  companies  made  one,  indeed,  so  fully  was 
the  railroad  merged  into  and  absorbed  by 
the  canal  company,  that  the  officers  of  the 
city  company,  including  the  President  and 
Directors,  were  made  the  officers  of  the  rail- 
road by  the  legislative  act.  It  should  be 
borne  in  mind  that  the  State  had  expended 
over  $1,000,000  in  work  upon  the  Illinois 
Central  Railroad,  and  all  this  was  turned 
over  to  the  Cairo  City  &  Canal  Company 
and  the  Great  Western  Railroad  (all  one  and 
the  same  thing)  and  this  was  turned  over  to 
the  new  company  in  the  following  rather 
loose  language,  in  Section  12  of  the  incor- 
poration act:  "The  frovernor  of  this  State  is 
hereby  authorized  and  required  to  appoint 
one  or  more*  competent  persons  to  estimate 
the  present  value  of  any  work  done,  at  the 
expense  of  the  State,  on  the  Central  Rail- 
road; also  of  any  materials  or  right  of  way; 
and  whatever  sum  shall  be  fixed  upon  as  the 
value  thereof,  by  said  persons,  shall  be  paid 
for  by  the  company,  in  the  bonds  or  other 
indebtedness  of  the  State,  any  time  during 
the  progress  of  the  road  to  completion,  and 
any  contract   entered    into  under  the  seal  of 


the  State,  signed  by  the  Governor  thereof, 
shall  be  legal  and  binding,  to  the  full  intent 
and  purpose  thereof,  on  the  State  of  Illinois," 

Section  14,  with  equal  State  liberality  and 
vagueness,  goes  on  to  specify  that  whenever 
the  whole  indebtedness  of  the  company  shall 
be  paid  and  liquidated,  the  Legislature  of 
the  State  ^  of  Illinois,  thereafter  then  in 
session,  shall  have  the  power  to  alter,  amend 
or  modify  this  act,  as  the  public  good  shall 
require,  and  also  that  of  the  City  of  Cairo 
&  Canal  Company;  and  the  eleventh  section 
of  the  act  incorporating  the  said  Cairo  Citi/ 
&  Canal  Company,  which  limits  its  charter 
to  twenty  years,  be  and  the  said  section  is 
hereby  repealed,  and  this  act  be  and  is  de- 
clared a  public  act,  and  as  such  shall  be 
taken  notice  of  by  all  courts  of  justic  ■  in  the 
State,  etc. 

Two  years  after  this,  March  3,  1845,  the 
Legislature  repealed  the  act  incoi-porating 
the  Great  Western  Railroad  Company.  This 
repealing  law  like  all  other  legislation  upon 
that  subject,  was  no  doubt  passed  at  the  in- 
stance of  the  railroad  company,  or  rather  of 
the  Cairo  Cit}^  &  Canal  Company.  On  its 
face,  it  has  the  appearance  of  a  design  to 
give  back  to  the  State  all  its  rights  and 
privileges  except  those  pertaining  to  the 
founding  of  a  city  here  and  the  construction 
of  a  canal  from  Cache  to  and  through  Cairo. 

But  on  February  10,  1849,  the  Legislature 
passed  another  law,  which  repealed  the  re- 
pealing act,  and  starts  out  by  saying  that 
the  President  and  Directors  of  the  Cairo  City 
&  Canal  Company,  under  the  name  and 
style  of  the  "  Great  Western  Railway  Com- 
pany," chartered  Mf^eh  6.  1843,  and  that 
William  F.  Thornton,  Willis  Allen,  Thomas 
G.  C.  Davis,  John  Moore,  John  Huffman, 
John  Green,  Robert  Blackwell,  Benjamin 
Bond,  Daniel  H.  Brush,  George  W.  Pace, 
Walter   B.  Scates,  Samuel   K.  Casey,  Albert 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


77 


G.  Caldwell,  Humphrey  B.  Jones,  Charles 
Hoyt,  Ira  Minarcl.  Charles  S.  Hempstead, 
John  B.  Chapin,  Uri  Osgood,  H.  D.  Berley, 
Hemy  Corwith,  I.  C.  Pugh,  John  J.  Mc- 
Graw,  Onslow  Peters,  D.  D.  Shumway,  Jus- 
tin Butterfield,  John  B.  Turner,  Mark  Skin- 
ner and  Gavion  D.  A.  Parks  be  associates 
with  said  company  in  the  construction  of 
said  railroad,  and  are  empowered  and 
reinstated,  with  all  the  powers  and  privileges 
contained  in  said  act  of  incorpoi-ation, 
and  are  also  subject  to  all  restrictions 
contained  in  said  act  of  incoporation — the 
act  in  force  March  3.  1845,  which  repealed 
the  charter  of  the  company,  to  the  contrary 
notwithstanding.  This  reviving  act  then 
proceeds  to  extend  the  privileges  of  the  Cairo 
City  &  Canal  Company  in  a  most  liberal 
manner.  It  authorizes  them  to  construct  the 
Great  Western  Eailroad  from  the  teiTaina- 
tion  set  forth  in  the  said  charter,  at  or  near 
the  termination  of  the  Illinois  &  Michigan 
Canal  to  the  city  of  Chicago.  Section  3  is 
important  enough  to  give  it  entire,  as  follows: 
"And  the  right  of  way  the  State  may  have 
obtained,  together  with  all  the  work  and  sur- 
veying done  at  the  expense  of  the  State,  and 
materials  connected  with  said  road,  Mng  be- 
tween the  termination  of  the  Illinois  & 
Michigan  Canal  and  Cairo  City,  are  hereby 
granted  to  said  company  upon  conditions  as 
follows:  Said  company  shall  take  posses- 
sion of  ^said  road  within  two  years  of  the 
passage  of  this  act,  and  as  far  as  practicable 
preserve  the  same  from  injury  and  dilapida- 
tion; and  said  company  shall,  within  two 
years  from  the  passage  of  this  act,  expend 
$100,000  in  the  construction  of  said  road, 
and  $200,000  for  each  year  thereafter,  until 
said  road  shall  have  been  completed  from  the 
city  of  Cairo  to  the  city  of  Chicago. 

Sec  4.     The    Governor    of    the    State   of 
Illinois  is  hereby  authorized  and  empowered  I 


to  contract  with  and  agree  to  hold  iu  trust, 
for  the  use  and  benefit  of  said  Great  West- 
ern Railway  Company,  whatever  lands  may 
be  donated  or  thereunto  seciu-ed  to  the  State 
of  Illinois  by  the  General  Government,  to 
aid  in  the  completion  of  the  Central  or  Great 
Western  Railroad  from  Cairo  to  Chicago, 
subject  to  the  conditions  and  provisions  of 
the  bill  granting  the  lands  by  Congi-ess, 
and  the  said  company  is  hereby  authorized 
to  receive,  hold  and  dispose  of  any  and  all 
lands  secui'ed  to  said  company  by  donation, 
pre-emption  or  otherwise;  subject,  however, 
to  the  provisions  of  the  eighteenth  section  of 
its  charter.  [This  clause  was  to  the  effect 
that  all  lands  coming  into  the  hands  of  the 
company,  not  required  for  use,  security  or 
construction,  should  be  sold  by  the  company 
within  live  years,  or  revert  to  the  Govern- 
ment.] Provision  was  then  further  made  that 
the  Governor  should,  from  time  to  time,  as 
the  company  progressed  with  the  work,  des- 
ignate in  writing  the  proportion  of  such 
lands  donated  by  Congress  to  be  sold  and  dis- 
posed of. 

In  order  to  complete  the  list  of  incorpo- 
ration acts,  that  had  a  direct  reference  to  the 
owners  and  proprietors  of  the  city  of  Caii'o, 
it  is  proper  here  to  explain  that  on  January 
18,  1836,  the  Legislature  incorporated  the 
Illinois  Exporting  Company.  The  act  states 
that  "all  such  persons  as  shall  become  sub- 
scribers to  the  stock  hei-eiuafter  described, 
shall  be  and  they  are  hereby  constituted  and 
declared  a  body  politic  and  corporate."  It 
proceeds  to  enable  the  President  and  Direct- 
ors of  the  company  to  "carry  on  the  manu- 
facture of  agricultural  products;  erect  mills 
and  buildings;  export  their  products  and 
manufactures,  and  enter  into  all  contracts 
concerning-  the  management  of  their  prop- 
erty. The  capital  stock  is  §150,000,  and 
may  be  increased  to  $500,000;  meetings  and 


78 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


general  places  of  business  of  the  company  to 
be  at  Alton ;  may  select  any  other  place  of 
business;  may  erect  mills,  etc.,  in  any  county 
in  the  State,  by  permission  of  the  County 
Commisisoners'  Court.  James  S.  Lane, 
Thomas  G.  Howley,  Anthony  Olney,  John 
M.  Krum  and  D.  B.  Holbrook  are  appointed 
Commissioners  to  obtain  subscription  to  the 
capital  stock  of  the  company;  any  one  could 
become  a  subscriber  by  paying  $1.  Provided, 
the  provisions  of  this  act  shall  in  no  case 
extend  to  the  counties  of  Edgar,  Green  and 
St.  Clair,  etc.,  etc. 

On  September  29,  1846,  in  consequence  of 
the  general  and  financial  disasters,  resulting 
from  panic  and  widespread  bankruptcy 
throughout  the  commercial  world,  the  pai'ties 
interested  in  Cairo,  the  mortgagees,  judg- 
ment creditors,  owners  in  fee  and  otherwise 
interested,  after  a  series  of  consultations, 
agi-eed  and  did  form  and  create  the  "  Trust 
of  the  Cairo  City  Property,"  conveying  the 
property  to  Thomas  Taylor,  of  Philadelphia, 
and  Charles  Davis,  of  New  York,  as  Trustees. 

On  May  10,  1876,  the  Trustees  of  the  Cairo 
City  property,  having  expended  in  making 
material  improvements  about  Cairo  $1,307,- 
021.42,  of  which  $184,505.64  was  expended 
upon  the  levee  running  along  the  Ohio  River, 
and  $149,973.23  upon  the  levee  running 
along  the  Mississippi  River,  and  $70,445.06 
upon  the  protection  of  the  Mississippi  River 
bank,  and  $571,534.08  upon  general  improve- 
ments, and  $330,553.41  upon  taxes  and  as- 
sessments, found  themselves  unable  to  pay 
two  loans  obtained  from  Hiram  Ketchum, 
of  New  York — one  on  October  1,  1863,  for 
$250,000,  and  the  other  on  October  1,  1867, 
for  $50,000,  to  secure  which,  mortgages,  of 
the  dates  given,  had  been  executed.  The 
mortgages  were,  therefore,  foreclosed,  and 
the  property  of  the  Trust  of  the  Cairo  City 
Property  sold  to  the  bondholders  under  the 


mortgage,  and  a  new,  and  the  present,  trust 
was  formed,  called  the  Cairo  Trust  Property, 
under  the  control  and  management  oE  Col. 
S.  Staats  Taylor  and  Edwin  Parsons,  the 
Trustees. 

On  the  14th  of  February,  1841,  the  Legis- 
lature passed  an  act  conferring  upon  the 
Cairo  City  &  Catial  Company  "all  the 
powers  conferred  upon  the  Board  of  Alder- 
men of  the  City  of  Quincy,  as  defined  be- 
tween the  fii'st  and  forty-fifth  sections  ol  the 
charter  of  that  city,"  and  these  grants  were 
confirmed  for  ten  years. 

It  is  possible  there  were  other  laws  passed 
for  the  benefit  of  the  many  charter  companies 
that  depended  and  hinged  upon  the  Cairo 
City  &  Canal  Company,  but  we  have  not, 
so  far,  found  them.  But  in  all  these  acts 
and  doings,  one  fact  is  distinctly  seen :  Many 
people  believed  that  it  was  all,  practically, 
the  work  of  D.  B.  Holbrook,  and  that,  as  a 
rule,  up  to  the  time  that  his  path  was  crossed 
by  Judge  Douglas,  the  names  of  D.  B.  Hol- 
brook and  the  Cairo  City  &  Canal  Company 
were  practically  one  and  the  same  thing. 
He  was  certainly  a  man  of  great  activity  of 
intellect,  shrewdness  and  untiring  industry, 
and  while  all  conceded  him  this,  yet  many 
deemed  him  utterly  selfish,  and  indifferent 
to  all  interests  except  his  own,  and  that  he 
was  a  shrewd  and  dangerous  marplot,  who 
brought  evil  to  Cairo  by  his  reckless  greed 
of  power  and  money.  In  speaking  of  the 
crash  that  came  upon  Cairo  in  1841,  Mose 
Harrell,  among  other  things,  enumerated,  as 
the  chief  cause  thereof,  to  have  been  the  fail- 
ure of  the  banking-house  of  Wright  &  Co., 
London,  through  which  continuous  loans  to 
the  City  Company  were  anticipated;  the  sus- 
pension of  work  on  the  Illinois  Central  Rail- 
road, upon  which  so  much  trade  depended, 
and  the  general  abandonment  of  the  system 
of  public  works  inaugurated  by  the  State  in 


'^.i- 


im^ 


4 


/J      i>f^' 


m-L^.cM,  X-/ix^ 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


81 


1837,  and  he  says:  "  Possibly  another  reason 
was  the  monopoly  of  which  Holbrook  was  the 
head.  Under  his  rule,  no  person  could  be- 
come a  freeholder  in  the  city;  ground  there 
could  not  be  purchased  or  leased;  all  the 
dwellings  were  owned  by  the  company;  no 
one  could  live  in  the  city,  unless  at  the  pleas- 
ure of  Holbrook,  as  even  the  hotels  were  the 
property  of  the  company.  More  than  that, 
the  company  were  empowered  (with)  all  the 
rules  and  regulations  for  the  municipal  gov- 
ernment, such  as  a  Mayor  and  Common 
Council  might  establish.  The  company  could 
declare  a  levy  of  taxes  and  enforce  its  col- 
lection, and  could  expend  the  money  as  it 
chose."  In  a  letter  published  in  the  New 
York  Herald,  and  of  date  October  3,  1850, 
we  extract  the  following:  "  In  1835,  Mr.  D. 
B.  Holbrook,  originally  from  Boston,  pro- 
cured from  the  Legislature  of  the  State  of 
Illinois  his  first  charter  for  the  Cairo  City 
&  Canal  Company,  and  he  also  procured  a 
charter  for  the  Central  Kailroad  Company, 
from  Cairo  to  Galena.  He  subsequently  ob- 
tained a  third  charter,  for  the  Illinois  Ex- 
porting Company,  with  authority  to  carry  on 
transportation  by  land  and  water,  and  to  in- 
sure against  risks  from  fii'e  and  water,  and 
to  carry  on  manufacturing  business  gener- 
ally. He  also  purchased  and  revived  a  de- 
funct bank  charter,  known  as  the  Cairo  Bank, 
and  one  or  two  others  I  cannot  specify.  Mr. 
Holbrook  at  once  organized  the  Cairo  City 
&  Canal  Company;  took  the  stock  himself, 
and  had  himself  elected  President;  also  or- 
ganized the  Central  Railroad  Company,  by  a 
nominal  payment  of -SI  per  share  (which  was 
never  paid  in,  but  a  note  given  in  lieu  of  the 
money),  and  elected  himself  President.  He 
also  organized  the  Illinois  Exporting  Com- 
pany, in  the  same  mode;  and  also  organized 
the  Cairo  Bank,  and  put  one  of  his  instru- 
ments at  the  head  of  it.     Subsequently,   D. 


B.  Holbrook,  as  President  of  the  Cairo  City 
&  Canal  Company,  entered  into  a  contract 
with  D.  B.  Holbrook,  as  President  of  the 
Central  Bailroad  Company;  and  D.  B.  Hol- 
brook, as  President  of  the  Central  Railroad 
Company,  further  contracted  with  D.  B.  Hol- 
brook, of  the  Illinois  Exporting  Company, 
and  D.  B.  Holbrook,  as  President  of  that 
company,  contracted  with  D.  B.  Holbrook,  as 
President  of  each  of  the  other  companies, 
that  each  of  said  companies  might  exercise  all 
and  singular,  the  rights,  privileges  and 
powers  conferred  by  law  upon  either;  by 
which  all  companies  were  to  be  consolidated 
into  one,  and  exercise  the  several  powers  con- 
ferred upon  each.  *  *  *  *  jn  1S36, 
the  Illinois  Legislature  adopted  its  mam- 
moth system  of  internal  improvement,  and 
among  other  enterprises,  commenced  the 
construction  of  a  Central  Railroad  as  a  State 
work,  Mr.  Holbrook  having  surrendered 
his  charter  for  that  purpose.  After  having 
spent  about  $1,000,000  on  |the  road,  the 
credit  of  the  State  failed,  and  the  system  was 
abandoned.  A  charter  was  subsequently 
granted  bj'  the  Legislature  to  the  Cairo  City 
&  Canal  Company,  by  which  that  company 
was  authorized  to  construct  the  Central  Rail- 
road. At  the  last  regular  session  of  the 
Legislatm-e,  while  a  bill  was  pending  before 
Congress,  making"  a  grant  of  land  to  the 
State,  in  aid  of  the  construction  of  the  rail- 
road, a  law  was  passed,  transferring  to  the 
said  company  the  right  of  way,  and  all  the 
work  which  had  been  executed  by  the  State 
at  the  cost  of  $1,000,000,  together  with  all 
the  lands  which  had  been,  or  should  here- 
after be,  granted  by  Congress  to  the  State  in 
aid  of  the  constniction  of  said  railroad. 
How  this  act  was  passed  remains  a  mystery, 
as  its  existence  was  not  known  in  Illinois 
until  Judge  Douglas  brought  it  to  light  in  a 
speech  at  Chicago   in  October  last.     In  that 


83 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


speech,  Judge  Douglas  denounced  the  whole 
transaction  as  a  fraud  upon  the  Legislature 
and  the  people  of  the  State,  and  declared 
that  he  would  denounce  it  as  such  in  the 
Senate  of  the  United  States,  if  an  application 
was  ever  made  to  that  body  for  a  grant  of 
land,  whilst  the  Holbrook  charters,  and  es- 
pecially the  act  referred  to,  remained  in 
force." 

Tlae  letter  proceeds  to  give  an  account  of 
how  Judge  Douglas  finally  compelled  Hol- 
brook and  his  company  to  execute  a  complete 
release  of  their  charter  to  the  State,  and 
then  says:  "But  for  the  execution  of  the  re- 
lease by  Mr.  Holbrook,  and  the  surrender  of 
all  claims  to  any  railroad  charter,  or  rights 
and  privileges  under  any  act  of  the  Illinois 
Legislature  on  the  subject,  the  grant  of  land 
would  never  have  been  ,made  by  Congi-ess. 
Thus  it  appears  that  Mr.  Holbrook  has  no 
charter  for  a  railroad  in  Illinois,  and  no 
claims  to  the  lands  which  have  been  granted, 
unless  the  State  of  Illinois  refuses  to  accept 
the  release,  or  makes  a  new  grant  to  D.  B. 
Holbrook,  which,  unless  its  members  are 
crazy,  it  is  not  likely  to  do.  I  have  deemed 
it  necessary  to  make  this  exposition  of  the 
facts  in  the  case,  in  order  ,that  capitalists  in 
New  York  and  elsewhere  may  not  labor  under 
eiToneous  impressions  in  regaixl  to  so  impor- 
tant a  matter,  affecting  alike  the  honor  of  the 
State  of  Illinois  and  that  of  Congress." 

A  full  and  complete  account  of  the  nego- 
tiations, correspondence,  etc.,  that  ^resulted 
in  this  important  transaction,  will  be  found 
in  another  chapter  in  the  account  of  the 
building  of  the  Illinois  Central  Railroad. 
We  give  here  these  extracts  from  the  letter  of 
"An  Illinois  Bondholder,"  merely  to  show 
the  tenor  of  the  attacks  that  were  in  that  day 
made  upon  Holbrook,  and  the  wide  and  pro- 
found sensation  the  appearance  of  this  ex- 
traordinary financier  made  all  over  the  coun- 


try.    The  reader  (^can  now  readily  see  there 
are  many  historical    inaccuracies  in  the  let- 
ter, yet,  at  the  time  it   was  published,  it  was 
a  strong  document,  and   had  evidently  been 
carefully   prepared    by  some  one   who   had 
studied  well  the  subject.     It  is  possible  the 
writer  was  a  jealous  rival  of  Holbrook's,  and 
one  who  conceived  that  his  own  success  could 
only  be  accomplished   by  first  pulling  down 
Holbrook  and  his  company.    Certainly,  there 
is  too  much  feeling  displayed  in  these  attacks 
upon  this  remarkable  man  by  his  cotempo- 
raries,  to  cause  all  their  statements  about  his 
unholy   purposes   to   be   now    implicitly  re- 
ceived, and    given  to   the   world  as    attested 
facts.     A  patient  and  impartial  investigation 
of  the  times,  and  the  general  circumstances 
surrounding   D.  B.   Holbrook  and  his    asso- 
ciates in  the  Cairo  City   &  Canal  Company, 
leads  to  the  conclusion  that  they  were  seek- 
ing sincerely  to  improve  the  great  West,  and 
to  build  here  in  Illinois  great  cities  and  rail- 
roads, and   that    neither  the    glory    nor    the 
blame,  nor  the  wise  and  beneficial  acts,  nor 
the  mistakes  of   the   company   properly  be- 
longed wholly  to  Holbrook,  as  were  so  widely 
charged  in  his  day  of  activity  here.     His  as- 
sociates  and   co-Jncorporators    in  the    Cairo 
City  &  Canal  charter  were  among  the  most 
eminent,  patriotic  and  just  men  in  the  State 
in  their  day.     They  have  mostly  passed  from 
earth,  and  all   have  ceased    from  the   active 
struggles  of  life,  and  of  Breese,  and   Casey, 
and  Judge  Jenkins  and  Miles  A.  Gilbert,  the 
only   one    living,   and   the    many   other    co- 
laborers   in  the   early  work  of  improvements 
in  Illinois,  their  untarnished  [memories  will 
ever  remain  a   rich    legacy  to   the   people  of 
Illinois.    The  finger  marks  of  these  men  will 
ever   remain  upon    the  early   history  of   the 
i  State.     Each  one  of  them  worked  in  his  own 
chosen  or    allotted  sphere,  yet   in  harmony 
with  his    other    incorporators,    and   together 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


S3 


they  thought  out  and  worked  out  causes  here, 
whose  effects  Avill  endiu'e  perpetually. 

As  remarked  in  the  early  j)ortion  of  this 
chapter,  the  act  granting  the  charter  of  the 
City  of  Cairo  &  Canal  Company  was  the 
first  step  in  attracting  the  attention  of  many 
of  the  leading  men  of  the  nation  to  this  great 
natui'al  commercial  point,  and  that  attention 
once  arrested,  and  the  lakes  of  the  North  and 
the  waters  of  the  great  rivers  at  once  made 
plain  the  fact  that  they  must  be  joined 
together  by  railroads,  had  set  busy  minds  to 
thinking  how  this  immense  work  could  best 
be  done,  or,  for  that  matter,  done  at  all. 
Men  were  stiidying  the  maps  with  the  care 
and  diligence  which  warriors  give  these 
things  with  reference  to  their  marches,  re- 
treats or  battle  grounds. 

In  the  latter  days  of  Judge  Breese's  life, 
he  claimed  that  he  had  promulgated  the  idea 
of  a  Government  land-grant  in  aid  of  the 
construction  of  the  Illinois  Central  Railroad. 

There  is  an  abundance  of  evidence  that 
not  only  Judge  Breese,  but  that  many  others 
were  giving  it  close  attention.  But,  com- 
mencing with  Judge  Breese,  and  following 
along  all  the  now  existing  records,  lottei's 
and  publications,  we  find  they,  one  and  all, 
fell  short  in  the  full  completion  of  the  idea 
of  a  land  donation  in  this:  They  advocated 
donating  the  lands  by  pre-emption,  and  not 
as  in  the  form  the  act  was  finally  passed  by 
Judge  Douglas  as  a  direct  and  absolute 
transfer  of  the  title  in  fee  to  the  railroad, 
upon  its  conforming  to  the  prescribed  condi- 
tions. Nearly  all  the  people  of  Illinois  bad 
discussed  the  subject  in  social  life,  in  the 
press  and  in  public  meetings  held  in  .the 
counties  along  the  route  of  the  pi'oposed 
railroad,  but  the  pre-emption-donation  idea 
only  prevailed,  and  the  first  time  the  thought 
of  a  direct  title  in  fee  was  put  forth  by 
Mr.  Justin  Butterfield,  January  18,  1848,  in 


a  public  meeting  of  the  citizens  of  Chicago, 
which  he  had  called  for  the  purpose  of  con- 
sidering the  feasibility  of  constructing  h  rail- 
road to  connect  the  Tpper  and  Lower  Mis- 
sissippi with  the  Great  Lakes  of  the  North, 
and  to  recommend  to  Congress  that  a  grant  of 
lands  should  be  made  to  the  State  of  Illinois 
for  that  purpose.  The  meeting  was  presided 
over  by  Thomas  Dyer,  Esq. ,  and  Dr.  Brainord 
acted  as  Secretary.  Col.  K.  J.  Hamilton, 
Justin  Butterfield,  M.  Skinner,  A.  Hunting- 
ton and  E.  B.  AVilliams  were  appointed,  by 
the  chair,  a  Committee  to  report  resolutions, 
and  they  reported  the  following,  which  had 
been  prepared  by  Mr.  Butterfield.  which 
were  unanimously  adopted: 

Resolved,  That  the  great  and  almost  in- 
credible increase  in  wealth,  population  and 
commerce  of  the  great  valley  of  the  West, 
duriiig  the  last  ten  years,  as  clearly  exhibited 
by  oflficial  reports  submitted  to  the  Congress 
of  the  United  States,  appears  to  recjuire.  on 
the  part  of  that  enlightened  body,  a  cori-e- 
sponding* attention  to  its  wants  an  1  necessi- 
ties. 

Resolved,  That  the  grant  of  public  lands 
by  Congress,  for  the  purpose  of  opening  or 
improving  avenues  of  commerce  in  their 
State  jurisdiction,  has  been  approved  by  the 
wisest  and  most  experienced  of  our  states- 
men, and  has  been  eminently  beneficial  to 
the  States  and  the  Union. 

Resolved,  That  a  railroad,  to  connect  the 
Upper  and  Lower  Mississippi  with  the  great 
lakes,  would  be  a  work  of  great  importance, 
not  only  to  the  agricultural  and  commercial 
interests  of  the  State,  but  to  all  portions  of 
the  United  States  interested  in  the  commerce 
of  the  lakes  and  the  Western  rivers. 

Resolved,  That,  in  a  military  point  of  view, 
as  well  as  for  the  speedy  and  economical 
transportation  of  the  mails  (objects  eminent- 
ly connected  with  the  general  welfai'e  and 
common  defense),  such  a  road  would  be  un- 
questionably of  national  importance,  and 
therefore  deserving  of  aid  from  the  National 
Legislature. 

Resolved,  That  om-    Senators    and    Repre- 


84 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


sentatives  in  Congress  of  the  United  States 
be  requested  to  use  their  best  exertions  to 
secure  the  passage  of  a  law,  granting  to  the 
State  of  Illinois  the  right  of  way  and  public 
lands,  for  the  constraction  of  a  railroad  to 
connect  the  Upper  and  Lower  Mississippi 
with  the  lakes  at  Chicago,  equal  to  every  al- 
ternate section  for  five  miles  wide  on  each 
side  of  said  road. 

Upon  these  resolutions,  Mr.  Butterfield  de- 
livered an  able  address,  which  he  read  from 
manuscript;  from  which  we  make  the  fol- 
lowing extracts:  "The  locomotive,  whose 
speed  almost  annihilates  time  and  distance, 
has  introduced  a  new  era  in  travel,  in  trans- 
portation and  fn  commercial  interchanges. 
It  is  in  successful  operation  in  most  of  the 
nations  of  Europe,  and  in  most  of  the  Ameri- 
can States,  Illinois  excepted — a  level,  cham- 
paign country,  better  adapted  by  natm'e  for 
its  use  than  any  other  State  or  country  of 
equal  extent  in  the  world.  Why  we  should 
be  so  far  behind  the  age,  in  the  adoption  of 
this  great  improvement,  it  is  unnecessary 
now  to  inquire.  Suffice  it  to  say,  that  in  the 
years  1836  and  1837,  when  we  were  compara- 
tively weak  and  feeble  in  population,  in  pro- 
ductive industry  and  pecuniaiy  resources,  we 
madly  and  wildly  rushed  into  a  gigantic  and 
ill-digested  system  of  internal  improvements 
altogether  beyond  our  ability.  We  j^rojected 
more  than  thirteen  hundred  miles  of  railroad; 
we  borrowed  millions  of  money,  and  sowed 
it  broadcast;  our  money  was  soon  expended, 
and  our  credit  gone;  in  the  great  re-action  of 
1839  and  1840,  desolation  swept  over  the 
land,  and  the  moldering  ruins  and  crumbling 
monuments  of  public  works  are  all  that  now 
remain  of  our  once  magnificent  system  of  in- 
ternal improvements.     *     *     *     * 

"  The  extent  of  steam  navigation  upon  the 
Mississippi  and  its  tributaries  is  rising  of 
16,000  miles,  giving  a  coast  of  over  32,000 
miles,     *     *     a  large  portion  of  which  is  as 


fertile  as  the  Valley  of  the  Nile,  and  capable 
of  sustaining  a  population  as  dense  as  that 
of  England,  and  is  now  settling  and  im- 
proving with  unparalleled  rapidity.  The 
Middle  and  Eastern  States,  and  many  of  the 
nations  of  Europe,  are  the  great  hives  that 
are  sending  forth  their  swarms  to  populate 
our  Western  lands;  year  after  year,  in  ever- 
increasing  numbers,  they  come,  and  truly 
demonstrate  that  '  Westward  the  march  of 
empire  takes  its  way.'  But  who  can  foresee, 
who  can  calculate,  the  immense  trade,  travel 
and  commerce  that  will  be  done  upon  the 
Western  lakes  and  rivers  when  their  banks 
and  coasts  shall  be  settled  with  half  the 
density  with  which  Europe  is  populated? 

"  It  is  proposed  to  construct  a  railroad  to 
connect  the  Upp^r  and  Lower  Mississippi 
with  the  Great  Lakes;  this  railroad  to  com- 
mence at  the  confluence  of  the  Ohio  and  Mis- 
sissippi Rivers  at  Cairo,     *     *     *     * 

"  Cairo  is  the  most  favorable  point  for  th  e 
southern  tei'minus  of  this  road,  as  the  navi- 
gation of  both  the  Ohio  and  Mississippi 
Rivers,  above  Cairo,  is  often  obstructed  by 
ice  in  the  winter  and  by  low  water  in  the 
summer;  but  from  Cairo  to  New  Orleans 
there  is  an  uninterrupted  navigation  all  sea- 
sons of  the  year.  *  *  *  *  The  i-ailroad 
is  important  to  our  national  defense.  I  be- 
lieve it  is  regarded  by  military  men,  that  in 
case  of  a  war  with  a  maritime  power,  like 
England,  the  Gulf  of  Mexico  on  the  south, 
and  that  portion  of  our  country  bordering 
upon  Canada  in  the  north  are  our  weakest 
frontiers;  and  in  the  event  of  such  a  war,  it 
will  be  necessary  for  our  defense  to  marshal 
our  naval  forces,  so  as  to  maintain  our  mari- 
time ascendency  in  the  Gulf  and  on  the  lakes. 
That  it  is  viewed  in  this  light  by  the  Govern- 
ment, may  be  inferred  from  the  fact  that 
about  three  years  ago  the  project  of  the 
United  States  constructing  a  ship  canal,  be- 


HISTORY   OF  CAIRO. 


85 


tween  Lake  Michigan  and  the  Mississippi, 
was  agitated  in  Congress,  and  resulted  in 
the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  sending  out  one  of 
our  most  distinguished  naval  commanders, 
and  the  chief  of  the  Engineer  Corps,  to  in- 
vestigate   the    practicability    of   the    meas- 

i-iY^fi  ^  "T^  ■^  ■^ 

"  AVe  ask  the  Government  to  make  a  dona- 
tion of  public  lands  to  the  State  of  Illinois, 
to  aid  in  the  construction  of  this  railroad, 
equal  to  every  alternate  section,  for  a  space 
of  five  miles  wide  on  each  side  of  it.  *  *  * 
"We  do  not  ask  for  this  land  to  be  given  to 
any  private  or  chartered  company,  that  they 
make  gain  or  speculation  out  of  it,  but  we 
ask  for  it  to  be  donated  •  to  this  State,  in 
trust,  to  be  used  in  the  constiiiction  of  a 
great  public  work,  that  will  shed  its  benefits 
upon  the  whole  of  our  common  country,  that 
will  bind  us  together  in  the  golden  bands  of 
commerce,  and  be  om*  greatest  blessing  in 
time  of  peace,  as  well  as  our  surest  defense 
in  time  of  war."     *     *     * 

The  address  concludes  with  the  following 
sentence  :  "  In  the  winter  season  there  ac- 
cumulates upon  the  hands  of  our  merchants 
produce  to  the  amount  of  about  one-half  mill- 
ion of  dollars,  which  lies  dead-weight  upon 
their  hands  for  three  or  four  months,  until 
the  opening  of  the  navigation  of  the  lakes. 
Our  merchants,  in  the  meantime,  receive  in- 
formation by  telegi-aph  of  the  rise  and  fall 
of  produce,  but  cannot  avail  themselves  of 
the  benefits  of  the  lightning,  either  to  buy 
or  sell.  Here  the  produce  is,  and  must  re- 
main, under  the  inexorable  decree  of  nature, 
locked  up  bj  the  ice.  Construct  this  rail- 
road, give  Chicago  a  southern  outlet  for  her 
produce  in  the  winter,  and  it  is  all  she  asks." 

The  resolutions  adopted  by  this  meeting, 
and  the  speech  made  by  Mr.  Butterfield, 
were  printed  in  pamphlet  form^  and  were 
sent  to  the  different  counties  along  the    line 


of  the  proposed  road,  with  requests  that  i)ub- 
lic  meetings  should  be  held  at  each  county 
seat,  for  the  pm'pose  of  creating  a  public 
sentiment  in  favor  of  the  Congressional  land- 
grant  project,  and  of  requesting  the  Illinios 
Delegates  in  Congress  to  support  it.  This 
work  among  the  people  of  Illinois,  in  order 
to  influence  to  activity  the  members  of  Con- 
gress, was  necessary  and  proper,  and  attended 
with  much  labor  and  considerable  expense, 
and  the  preceding  circumstances  that  brought 
both  of  these  about  were  the  following:  The 
Bank  of  the  United  States  of  Pennsylvania, 
located  at  Philadelphia,  had  become  the 
owner  of  large  interests  in  "Western  real  es- 
tate, as  well  as  a  large  number  of  the  bonds 
of  the  Cairo  City  &  Canal  Company,  and  the 
holder  of  much  of  the  land  of  the  company 
as  security  for  loans  advanced.  It  was,  there- 
fore, largely  interested  in  Cairo.  In  the 
year  1843,  it  sent  its  confidential  clerk.  S. 
Staats  Taylor,  to  the  West,  to  look  after  its 
interests.  Mr.  Taylor  made  his  head(^uarter8 
in  Chicago,  and  had  his  office,  during  that 
time,  with  Justin  Butterfield.  This,  prob- 
ably, was  the  main  cause  of  deeply  interest- 
ing the  latter  in  the  railroad  project  from 
Chicago  to  Cairo.  Then,  the  bank's  interests 
in  the  "West  caused  it  to  take  a  deep  concern 
in  the  progress  of  the  State  of  Illinois,  and 
especially  of  Cairo  and  its  vicinity,  and  it 
therefore  provided  the  necessary  funds  to  de- 
fray these  first  and  necessary  expenses.  In 
fact,  it  is  now  well  understood  that  the  start- 
ing point  in  the  building  of  the  Central  road 
and  the  city  were  made  originally  a  tangible 
fact  and  the  expenses  defrayed  in  getting  the 
law  passed  by  Congress,  by  the  hypotheca 
tion  of  a  strip  of  land  in  the  city  of  Cairo, 
running  from  river  to  river,  and  long  known 
as  the  "Holbrook  strip."  This  strip  of  land 
is  what  is  now  Tenth  street  to  Twelfth  street, 
inclusive. 


86 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


Mr.    Justin   Butterfield   was    one    of    the 
large-minded,  public-spirited  men  of  Illinois, 
who    was    profoundly   interested    in  the  de- 
velopment and  welfare  of  his  adopted  State, 
and  while  he  did  not  lay  claim  to  the  patern 
ity  of  the   advanced  idea    that   perfected  the 
land-grant  to  the  railroad,  and  made  it  such 
a  great   and   complete  success,  yet  as  he  had 
stated  to  his  office   companion,  Col.  Taylor, 
he  bad  first  heard  the  idea  advanced  at  some 
of  the  county  meetings  he  had  held,  and  his 
active  mind  was  ready  to  take  it  at  once  in  its 
entirety,  to  see    its  value  and   to  boldly  and 
ably   push  it   forward  to  its    final    triumph. 
Certainly,  the  Central  road  had  no  better  or 
abler  friend  than  was  Justin  Butterfield,  who, 
singularly  enough,  was  the  Commissioner  of 
the  GeneralLand  Office  during  the  building 
of  the  railroad,  and  in  that  position  was  con- 
stantly called  upon  to  guard  the  State's,  the 
road's  and   the  Government's   interest  in  the 
matter  of  the  land  grant  of  the  road.     Prob- 
ably for  his  incorruptible  discharge  of  these 
duties,  he  was  savagely  attacked  in   some  of 
the  public  jirints,  and  on  April  24,  1852,  he 
repelled  these  slanders  in  an   open  letter  to 
the  country,  which  opens  with  the  following 
explanatory   sentence:       "  During   the   past 
and   present    months,    various     publications 
have    appeared    in     the   Chicago    Democrat 
(John     "Wentworth's     paper),     charging    J. 
Butterfield,    Commissioner   of    the    General 
Land  Office,  with  having   been   actuated  by 
deadly  hostility  against  the  Illinois   Central 
Railroad  Company;  of  unwarrantably  delay- 
ing and   procrastinating   the    adjustment  of 
the  grant  of  lands;  of  attempting  to  kill  the 
Chicago  branch,  by  deciding  that  it   should 
have   diverged  from   the    main   trunk  at  the 
junction  of  the  canal  and  river  at  Peru,  and 
that  the    act  of    the    Legislatm-e,   providing 
that  it   should  not   diverge   from  any    point 
north  of    39  degrees,  30   minutes,  was  void; 


and  of  corruptly  making  various  other  de- 
cisions in  the  progress  of  the  adjustment  of 
that  grant,  adverse  to  the  rights  of  that  com- 
pany, from  which  an  appeal  was  taken  to  the 
Secretary,  and  Mr.  Butterfield  overruled  in 
all  his  objections;  but  that  things  went  on 
so  slowly,  that  the  Directors  of  the  company 
laid  their  case  before  the  President,  who  at 
once  wdered  Mr.  Butterfield  to  put  the  whole 
force  of  his  office  upon  the  work,  if  necessary 
to  its  execution;  and  that  after  this  Mr.  B. 
changed  his  whole  course  of  conduct,  etc. " 

After  giving  this  summary  of   the  charges 
against   him,   he   proceeds    to  say  in    reply: 
"  Had  these  publications  been  confined  to  the 
scurrilous     sheets    issued    by   the   notorious 
editor   of    that   paper,    I   should   not    have 
noticed  them;  bat  these   falsehoods  are  told 
with  such  apparent  candor  and  circumstan- 
tial detail,  that  some   respectable   papers,   I 
observe,  have  been  imposed  upon,  and  copied 
them."     He  then  gives  a  brief  and  succinct 
history  of  the  grant,  and  the  transactions  un- 
der   it,    and  then  sums  up    the    six   distinct 
falsehoods  in  the  charges,  denies  and  refutes 
j  them  in  detail,  and  thus   concludes  his  inter- 
1  esting  letter:     "  The  route  of  the  old  Central 
Railroad,  as   established  in    1836,  was    from 
i  Cairo,  via  Vandalia,    Shelbyville,    Decatur, 
:  Bloomington,  Peru  and  Dixon,  to  Galena;  it 
did    not   touch   within    about  one     hundred 
'  miles  of  Chicago. 

"  A  project  was  devised  and  published,  in 

the  latter  part  of  1847,  for  a  railroad  leading 

directly    from    Cairo   to   Chicago,  and  from 

thence  to  Galena,  recommending  an  applica- 

'■  tion  to  Congress  for  a    grant  of    lands  to  be 

made  to  the  State,  in    alternate   sections,  to 

aid    in   its   construction.         Judge   Dickey, 

j  James   H.    Collins,    Thomas  Dyer  and  hun- 

j  di-eds  of  other  citizens  of  Chicago  and  other 

1  portions  of  the  State,  will  recollect  who  was 

'  the    author  of   the    project!     To    whom  did 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


87 


the  newspapers  of  that  day  ascribe  it? 
"Who,  at  his  own  expense,  got  up  and  circu- 
lated petitions  far  and  wide  to  Congress 
for  a  donation  of  lands  to  the  State  for  this 
purpose  ?  Who  called  the  first  meeting  that 
was  ever  held  in  the  State  on  the  subject  of 
a  railroad  direct  from  Cairo  to  Chicago? 
An  address  which  I  had  the  honor  to  make 
on  that  occasion,  giving  my  views  of  the  im- 
mense importance  of  the  work  and  urging 
its  prosecution,  was  published  and  circu- 
lated. 

"  Those  who  have,  for  years  past,  known 
my  sentiments  and  humble  services  in  favor 
of  internal  improvements,  and  especially  for 
a  direct  communication  between  Chicago 
and  Cairo  by  railroad,  can  judge  of  the  prob- 
ability of  my  having  attempted  to  strangle 
the  project  on  the  eve  of  its  accomplishment! 
The  charge  emanates  from  one  whose  name 
and  character,  wherever  he  is  known,  is  a 
sovereign  antidote  for  all  the  poison  he  can 
distill. 

"  Although  famous  at  the  Capitol,  in  the 
adjustment  of  '  Congressional  stationery,'  in 
which  vocation  'he  can't  be  beat,'  he  is  evi- 
dently a  great  novice  in  the  adjustment  of 
railroad  grants." 

Recapitulation. — In  their  chronological 
order,  we  give  the  corporation  acts,  as  they 
were  passed  by  the  different  Legislative  bod- 
ies, that  had  in  view  the  buildincj  of  the 
city  of  Cairo,  and  that  are  refen-ed  to  at 
length  in  the  preceding  part  of  this  chapter. 

January  9,  1817 — John  G.  Comyges  and 
associates  were  incorporated  by  the  Territo- 
rial Legislature  of  Illinois,  as  the  "President, 
Directors  and  Company  of  the  Bank  of 
Cairo,"  and  authorized  to  build  a  city  upon 
the  lands  entered  by  them. 

January-  16,  1836— D.  B.  Holbrook,  A.  M. 
Jenkins,  M.   A.  Gilbert  and  others  were  in- 


corporated by  the  Legislature  of  Illinois  as 
the  "Illinois  Central  Railroad  Company." 
authorizing  the  company  to  construct  a  rail- 
road, "  commencing  at  or  near  the  mouth  of 
the  Ohio  River,  and  thence  north,  to  a  point 
on  the  Illinois  River,  at  or  near  the  termina- 
tion of  the  Illinois  &  Michigan  Canal,"  with 
the  privilege  of  extending  the  road  from  the 
Illinois  River  to  Galena. 

February  27,  1837 — Act  passed  by  the 
Legislatui-e,  of  Illinois,  "  to  establish  and 
maintain  a  General  System  of  Internal  Im- 
provement," and  "providing  for  a  Board  of 
Public  Works,"  and  directing  and  ordering 
the  construction  of  a  raih'oad  from  the  city 
of  Cairo,  at  or  near  the  confluence  of  the 
Ohio  and  Mississippi  Rivers,  to  ^some  point 
at  or  near  the  southern  termination  of  the 
Illinois  &  Michigan  Canal,  via  Vandal ia, 
Shelby ville,  Decatur  and  Bloomington,  thence 
via  Savanna  to  Galena,  and  appropriating  for 
the  construction  of  said  railroad  the  sum  of 
$8,500,000. 

March  4,  1837— A.  M.  Jenkins,  D.  B.  Hol- 
brook, M.  A.  Gilbert  and  others  were  incor- 
porated as  the  Cairo  City  &  Canal  Company, 
and  were  authorized  to  pui'chase  and  sell  land 
in  Township  17  south,  Range  1  west,  in  Alex- 
ander County,  and  to  build  a  city  thereon,  to 
be  called  the  city  of  Cairo.  This  act 
amended  February,  1839. 

June  7,  1837 — The  Illinois  Central  Rail- 
road Company  released  and'  gave  back  to  the 
State  the  right  to  constnict  "  a  railroad,  com- 
mencing at  or  near  the  confluence  of  the 
Ohio  and  Mississippi  Rivei"S,  and  extending 
to  Galena,  conditional,  however,  that  the  said 
State  of  Illinois  shall  commence  the  con- 
struction of  said  railroad,  within  a  reasonable 
time,  from  the  city  of  Cairo." 

June  26,  1837 — Anagi-eement  entered  into 
between  the  Illinois  Central  Railroad,  by  its 
President,  A.  M.  Jenkins,  and  the  Cairo  City 


88 


HISTORY   OF   CAIRO. 


&  Canal  Company,  by  D.  B.  Holbrook,  its 
President,  that  the  railroad  to  be  constructed 
by  the  Illinois  Central  Railroad  Company 
"  shall  commence  at  such  point  or  place  in 
the  city  of  Cairo,  as  the  Cairo  City  &  Canal 
Company  may  fix  and  direct." 

June  26,  1837— The  Cairo  City  &  Canal 
Company  mortgaged  its  lands  in  Township 
17  south.  Range  1  west,  of  the  Third  Principal 
Meridian,  on  a  portion  of  which  the  city  of 
Cairo  had  been  platted  and  laid  out,  to  the 
New  York  Life  Insurance  &  Trust  Company, 
as  security  for  loans  secured  from  English 
capitalists. 

February  1,  1840 — The  act  to  establish 
and  maintain  a  General  System  of  Internal 
Improvements,  passed  February  27,  1837, 
was  repealed  by  the  Legislatiu-e,  and  the 
work  on  the  Illinois  Central  Railroad 
stopped;  building  a  city  here  stopped,  and,  to 
complete  Cairo's  disasters,  the  company's 
banker  in  London  failed,  and  the  Cairo  City 
&  Canal  Company  were  hopelessly  bankrupt, 
and  the  nearly  fifteen  hundred  people  that 
had  gathered  here  dispersed,  and  desolation 
brooded  over  the  land. 

March  6,  1843— The  President  and  Direct- 
ors of  the  Cairo  City  &  Canal  Company  were 
incorporated  as  the  Great  Western  Railway 
Company,  and  authorized  to  construct  a 
railroad,  "  commencing  at  the  city  of  Cairo, 
in  Alexander  County, 111., and  thence  north,  by 
way  of  Vandalia,  Shelbyville,  Decatur  and 
Bloomington,  to  a  point  on  the  Illinois 
River  at  or  near  the  termination  of  the 
Illinois  &  Michigan  Canal,"  and  to  extend 
the  main  road  to  Galena. 

March  6,  1845 — The  last  above-mentioned 
act  repealed  by  the  Legislature. 

September  29,  1846— The  bondholders, 
creditors  and  owners  of  the  City  of  Cairo  & 
Canal  Company  franchise,  organized  The 
Trust  of  the  Cairo  Property,  and  all  the  com- 


pany's property  in  Town  17  south,  Rauge  1 
west,  was  conveyed  to  Thomas  Taylor,  of 
Philadelphia,  and  Charles  Davis,  [of  New 
York,  as  Trustees  of  the  Cairo  City  Prop- 
erty. 

February  10,  1849— The  President  and 
Directors  of  the  Cairo  City  &  Canal  Com- 
pany, with  others,  rechartered  and  rein- 
stated as  the  Great  Western  Railway  Com- 
pany, with  all  the  powers  conferred  by  the 
act  of  March  6,  1843,  and  the  Governor  of 
the  State  authorized  to  hold  in  trust  for  the 
Great  Western  Railway  Company  whatever 
lands  might  be  donated  or  thereafter  secured 
to  the  State  of  Illinois  b_y  the  General  Gov- 
ernment to  aid  in  the  construction  and  com- 
pletion of  the  Illinois  Central  or  the  Great 
Western  Railroad  from  Cairo  to  Chicago. 

December  24,  1849 — Release  executed  by 
the  Cairo  City  &  Canal  Company  to  the  State 
of  Illinois,  of  the  charter  of  the  Great  West- 
ern Railway  Company,  upon  the  condition 
that  the  State  would  build  "within  ten  years 
from  January  1,  1850,  a  railroad  from  Cairo 
to  Chicago,  and  that  the  southern  terminus 
should  be  the  city  of  Cairo. 

September  20,  1850 — An  act  of  Congress, 
granting  to  the  State  of  Illinois  the  alternate 
sections  of  land,  for  sixteen  sections  in 
width,  on  each  side  of  the  railroad  and  its 
branches,  for  the  construction  of  a  railroad 
from  the  southern  terminus  of  the  Illinois  & 
Michigan  Canal  to  a  point  at  or  near  the 
junction  of  the  Ohio  and  Mississippi  Rivers, 
with  branches  to  Chicago  and  Galena. 

September  20,  1850 — Release  by  the  Cairo 
City  &  Canal  Company  of  the  charter  of  the 
Great  Western  Railway  Company  to  the 
State,  and  the  acceptance  of  the  same  by  the 
State  of  Illinois. 

February  30,  1851 — The  act  of  incorpora- 
tion of  the  Illinois  Central  Railroad  passed 
by  the   Legislature,  and   providing  for    the 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


89 


conveyance  to  Trustees  the  lands  donated  by 
the  General  Government  to  the  State. 

Jnne  11,  1851 — An  agreement  between  the 
Illinois  Central  Railroad  and  the  Trustees  of 
the  Cairo  City  Property,  for  the  railroad  to 
construct  and  maintain  levees  around  the 
City  of  Cairo,  in  consideration  of  conveyance 
to  the  railroad  company  of  certain  lands  in 
the  city  of  Cairo,  specifying  the  levees  were 
to  be  about  seven  miles  long,  and  to  inclose 
about  thirteen  hunch'ed  acres  of  laud  on  the 
point. 

September  15,  1853 — The  city  of  Cairo 
was  platted  and  laid  out  and  recorded  by  the 
Cairo  City  Property,  and  the  first  lot  sold  to 
Peter  Stapleton. 

October  15,  1853 — Deed  executed  by  the 
Trustees  of  the  Cairo  City  Property,  to  the 
Illinois  Central  Railroad,  for  the  land  speci- 
fied in  the  agreement  of  the  road  to  construct 
and  maintain  levees. 

May  31,  1855 — An  additional  agreement 
entered  into  between  the  Cairo  City  Property 
and  the  Central  road,  by  which  the  road 
agreed  to  "construct  and  maintain  new  pro- 
tective embankment,  to  prevent  the  abrasion 
of  the  Mississippi  levee."  This  agreement 
materially  changed  that  of  June  11,  1851. 

June  12,  1858 — This  new  embankment, 
constructed  on  the  Mississippi  River,  gave 
way,  and  the  city  was  inundated. 

October  12,  1858- The  Illinois  Central 
Railroad,  having  restored  the  levees  to  the 
condition  they  were  in  before  the  overflow, 
were  informed  that  the  reconstruction  of  the 
levees  did  not  fulfill  their  agreement,  and  the 
road  was  notified  to  widen  and  strengthen 
the  works  to  at  least  a  width  of  twenty  feet 
on  the  top  of  the  levees,  with  a  slope  on  each 
side  of  one  foot  perpendicular  to  five  feet 
horizontal,  and  the  entire  levees  to  be  raised 
two  feet  higher  than  the  old  levees. 

October  29,  1858~Foi-mal  notice  given  by 


the  Trustees  of  the  Cairo  City  Property  to 
the  Illinois  Central  i-oad,  that,  in,  conse- 
quence of  the  road's  failure  and  refusal  to 
strengthen  the  levees,  according  to  their  con- 
tract, the  Trustees  would  at  once  proceed  to 
do  the  work  and  hold  the  railroad  company 
responsible  for  the  reimbursement  of  all 
costs  of  the  same,  with  interest. 

October  1,  1863 — Mortgage  executed,  by 
the  Trustees  of  Cairo  City  Property,  to  Hiram 
Ketchum,  Trustee,  to  all  the  property  of  the 
Trust  of  the  Cairo  City  Property,  as  a  secur- 
ity for  a  loan  of  $250,000. 

October  1,  1867 — An  additional  mortgage, 
by  the  same  parties  last  above-named,  upon 
the  same  propei'ty,  for  an  additional  loan  of 
150,000. 

July  18,  1872 — Suit  commenced  by  the 
Cairo  City  Property  against  the  Illinois  Cen- 
tral Railroad,  for  $250,000,  money  expended 
by  the  city  company  upon  the  levees.  The 
suit  was  compromised  by  the  payment  by  the 
railroad  of  $80,000,  and  the  conveying  back 
by  deed  to  the  Cairo  City  Property,  of  397 
acres  of  the  487  acres  that  had  been  conveyed 
to  the  railroad,  in  consideration  that  the  road 
would  construct  protective  levees.  By  this 
settlement,  the  railroad  was  released  from 
any  further  obligations  in  regard  to  the 
levees. 

May  10,  1876— The  Cairo  City  Property, 
being  unable  to  pay  the  loans  negotiated  in 
1863  and  1867,  the  mortgages  were  fore- 
closed, and  the  property  of  the  Trust  sold  to 
the  bondholders  under  the  mortgage. 

January  20,  1876 — A  new  Trust  formed, 
called  the  Cairo  City  Trust  Property,  under 
which  the  property  is  now  managed  by  S. 
Staats  Taylor .  and  Edwin  Parsons,  Trustees. 

The  finale  of  all  this  is,  there  was  much 
more  legislation  than  city  or  railroads  con- 
structed It  is  an  evidence  that  the  way 
cities  are  built   is  not  by  cunning  or  strong 


90 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


legislative  acts,  but  by  strong,  enterprising, 
busy  men;  not  by  powerful,  speculative  cor- 
porations, but  by  independent  individuals; 
not  by  anticipating  the  incomiug  rush  of  the 
thousands  who  make  it  a  metropolis,  and  dis- 
counting in  advance  the  per  capita  profits  of 
their  coming,  but  by  voluntary  acts  of  each 
one,  actinor  in   ignorance  and  unconcern  of 


what  the  future  is  or  may  be  of  the  place — 
the  busy,  enterprising  men  of  small  capital 
and  vast  energy.  These  are  the  broad  and 
strong  foundations  of  all  great  cities  that 
have  ever  yet  been  built  in  this  country.  It 
is  the  antipodes,  in  everything  of  a  movement 
to  found  a  city,  to  be,  when  completed,  the 
property  of  a  chartered  corporation. 


CHAPTER  V. 


THE  LEVEES— HOW  THE  TERRITORIAL  LEGISLATURE  BY  LAW  PLACED  THE  NATURAL  TOWN  SITE 
ABOVE  OVERFLOWS— FIRST  EFFORTS  AT  CONSTRUCTING  LEVEES— ENGINEER'S  REPORTS  ON 
THE  SAME— ESTIMATED  HEIGHT  AND  COSTS— THE  FLOODS— THE   CITY  OVERFLOWED 
—GREAT  DISASTER,  THE  CAUSE  AND   ITS    EFFECTS— THE    LEVEES  ARE  RECON- 
STRUCTED AND  THEY  DEFY  THE    GREATEST    WATERS   EVER    KNOWN. 


IN  the  preceding  chapter  we  have  at- 
tempted to  give  a  succinct  account  of  the 
many  charter  and  other  corporation  laws 
passed  in  reference  to  founding  the  city  of 
Cairo,  commencing  with  the  first  act  of  the 
Illinois  Territorial  Legislature,  of  June  9, 
1818,  and  in  chronological  order  tracing 
these  acts  down  to  date.  Following  this,  in 
the  natural  order,  would  be  a  similar  account 
of  the  construction  of  the  city's  levees,  from 
the  first  little  rude  embankments  of  William 
Bird  around  his  little  trading  house,  to  the 
present  more  than  seven  miles  of  the  finest, 
and  probably  the  most  solid,  protective  em- 
bankments in  the  world. 

In  the  year  1828,  John  and  Thompson 
Bird  brought  their  slaves  over  from  Missoui-i, 
and  built  an  embankment  around  the  hotel 
that  then  was  the  solitary  building  in  Cairo; 
which  stood  a  short  distance  below  the  pres- 
ent Halliday  House.  It  was  a  frame  build- 
ing, about  twenty-five  by  thirty-five  feet  in 
dimensions.  This  levee  seems  to  have  ful- 
filled its  purposes  well,  and  for  years  kept 
out  the  waters.     The  same  parties  soon  after 


erected  another  building,  for  a  store,  and  as 
this  was  just  outside  the  levee,  it  was  perched 
on  posts  that  were  high  enough  to  keep  it 
from  the  raging  waters. 

For  the  particulars  of  the  next  attempt  to 
construct  levees  we  are  indebted  to  the  now 
venerable  Judge  Miles  A.  Gilbert,  of  Ste. 
Mary's,  Mo.,  who  gives  us  his  recollections 
of  the  acts  and  doings  of  the  old  City  & 
Bank  of  Cairo  Company.  He  says:  "  John 
C.  Comyges,  the  master  spirit  of  this  enter- 
prise, had  just  perfected  his  plans  to  go  over 
to  Holland,  and  bring  to  Cairo  a  shipload  of 
Dutch  laborers,  to  build  the  dykes  or  levees 
around  the  city,  when  he  was  taken  sick  and 
soon  died,  when  the  other  incorporators, 
becoming  discouraged,  the  enterprise  was 
finally  abandoned.  In  those  days  (1818),  the 
public  lands  were  purchased  from  the  Gov- 
ernment, under  a  credit  system  of  $2  per 
acre— 50  cents  in  cash  paid,  and  $1.50  on 
timp.  If  the  $1.50  was  not  promptly  paid 
at  maturity,  the  land  reverted  to  the  Govern- 
ment, and  the  50  cents  per  acre  paid  was 
forfeited,  and  the  land  became  again  subject 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


91 


to  entry.  In  1835,  Judge  Sidney  Breese, 
Miles  A.  Gilbert  and  Thomas  Swanwiok  re- 
entered these  lands,  the  object  being  to  revive 
the  old  charter  of  the  City  &  Bank  of  Cairo 
Company,  of  1818,  which  had  not  yet  expired 
by  limitation  of  its  charter.  In  order  to  gain 
influence  to  eft'ect  this  purpose,  Miles  A.  Gil- 
bert and  Thomas  Swanwick  sold  an  undivided 
interest  to  Hon.  David  J.  Baker,  Hon.  Elias 
K.  Kane.  PieiTe  Mesnard  and  Darius  B.  Hol- 
brook."  [Then  follows  an  account  of  the 
chartering  of  the  original  Illinois  Central 
Railroad,  and  the  Internal  Improvement  Sys- 
tem, and  the  final  release  of  the  railroad 
charter  to  the  State.  For  particulars  see  pre- 
ceding chapter. — En.]  "  Judge  Gilbert  in- 
forms us  that  one  of  the  conditions  of  the 
Central's  release  to  the  State  was,  the  State 
should  build  a  road  upon  the  proposed  line 
and  establish  a  depot  in  the  city  limits,  and 
the  city  company  was  to  deed  the  railroad 
t«;n  acres  of  land  for  depot  purposes,  which 
deed  was  duly  made. 

"In  1838,  D.  B.  Holbrook,  the  President  of 
the  Cairo  City  &  Canal  Company,  went  to 
England  and  negotiated  a  loan  or  hypotheca- 
tion of  the  company's  bonds,  to  the  amount 
of  155,800  pounds  sterling.  On  his  return, 
he  revived  and  organized  the  Cairo  City 
Bank,  which  was,  as  required  by  law,  for  the 
time  being,  located  at  Kaskaskia,  when  work 
was  commenced  at  Cairo  upon  a  large  and 
extravagant  scale.  Anthony  Olney  was  ap- 
pointed General  Superintendent.  A  large 
force  was  set  to  work,  building  the  levees 
around  the  city. 

"  Foundries,  machine  shops,  workshops, 
boarding-houses  and  dwellings  went  up  as  if 
by  magic.  But  in  the  midst  of  this  general 
and  cheerful  prosperity,  the  banking-house 
of  Wright  &Co.,  of  London,  failed.  The  im- 
mediate cause  of  the  suspension  at  Cairo 
was  the  failure  of  Wright  &  Co.  to  meet  the 


di'af  ts  then  drawn  on  them  by  the  Cairo  City 
&  Canal  Company,  and  that  were  on  their 
way  to  England.  Had  the  failure  been  ]X)st- 
poned  sixty  days  longer,  and  the  existing 
drafts  been  honored,  the  Cairo  Company 
could  have  met  all  its  contracts  thereafter 
incurred,  by  a  little  prudence,  and  the  com- 
pany have  been  made  self-sustaining.  D.  B. 
Holbrook  made  every  effort  in  his  power  to 
raise  means  to  pay  and  secure  those  whom 
the  company  owed  at  Cairo,  but  distrust  had 
seized  every  one,  and  the  result  was  the  com- 
pany, bank,  and  all  work  su-spended.  Fol- 
lowing this,  recklessness  and  mob  law 
reigned  supreme" — idleness,  rioting,  de- 
moralization and  drunkenness  held  sway, 
and  the  seethingr,  roaring  mob  were  as  a  den 
of  mixed  wild  beasts,  where  only  the  fierce 
and  bloodthirsty  passions  were  manifested  or 
to  be  met.  Here  was  the  rapidly  gathered 
together  young  city,  of  about  two  thousand 
people,  plain  laborers  mostly,  many  skilled 
mechanics, boarding-house  keepers,  engineers, 
merchants,  traders,  contractors,  and  the 
women  and  children.  Their  incipient  city 
fringed  along  the  banks  of  the  Ohio  Kiver, 
where  the  gi'eat  old  forest  trees  had  been 
felled  along  the  edges  of  the  river  bank  to 
make  room  for  this  little  border  of  mosaic 
work  of  civilization  in  the  far  West.  The 
young  town  was  in  all  its  bewildering  new- 
ness and  freshness — that  unfinished  confusion 
on  a  fresh  bank  of  earth  here,  a  ditch  there ;  a 
rough,  stumpy,  newly  blazed  road  or  trail, 
hardly  yet  cut  by  its  first  wagon  tracks,  lead- 
ing nowhere;  newly- built  houses  dotted  here 
and  there  as  though  di-opped  at  random  from 
the  skies,  without  reference  to  their  ever  tak- 
ing their  positions  in  streets  or  regularity,  so 
new,  too,  were  they,  that  a  blanket,  a  jiiece  of 
cai'pet  or  a  quilt  did  duty  for  a  door,  and  upon 
every  hand  were  other  still  newer  houses  in 
every  stage  of  building,  fi'om   the  few  half- 


9-2 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


hewn  logs  that  lay  scattered  over  the  ground 
and  obstructing  the*  passage-ways,  to  those 
with  the  new  board  roof  being  nailed  on; 
workshops,  boarding-houses,  hotels,  foun- 
dries, in  short,  a  great  city  was  almost 
magically  being  built  in  the  wild  forests, 
and  simultaneously  a  great  railroad  was 
being  built  in  the  city,  and  happy  and  busy 
men  were  working  out  this  apparently  inex- 
tricable confusion,  and  bringing  order  and 
symmetry  out  of  disorder,  when  the  crash 
came,  and  hope  and  confidence  fled  from  the 
people;  all  labor  instantly  ceased,  and  whole 
families  swarmed  from  their  homes,  cabins 
and  tents,  after  the  fashion  of  angry  bees 
when  a  stick  is  thrust  into  their  hive.  Hol- 
brook's  fair  promises  were  scouted,  the  law 
of  the  land  ridiculed,  and  pell-mell  the  mob 
commenced  an  indiscriminate  sacking  of  all 
public  or  city  company  property.  They 
mostly  must  have  found  but  little  comfort  in 
this,  as  there  was  little  or  nothing  that  could 
be  converted  to  private  use  that  would  be  of 
any  value,  and  hence  the  robberies  or  appro- 
priations must  often  have  been  after  the 
fashion  of  the  soldier,  who  started  on  the 
march  to  Georgia,  and  the  first  day  out  dis- 
covered the  highways  and  the  by-ways,  the 
fields  and  the  woods  were  full  of  bummers, 
who  were  stealing  everything  as  they  went. 
Piqued  at  his  being  behind  ^the  early  birds, 
he  looked  about  him  for  something  to  steal, 
when  the  only  thing  he  could  find  left  was  a 
plow.  This  he  shouldered,  and  in  happiness 
resumed  his  march.  After  tusrscins:  in  sore 
agony  and  distress  under  his  load  of  loot  for 
a  few  miles,  he  overhauled  his  elder  patriotic 
brother,  stranded  by  the  wayside  from  a 
grindstone  that  he  had  appropriated  a  few 
miles  back.  These  two  patriots,  as  it  ia  right 
and  proper  they  should  be,  are  now  on  the 
penson  list,  for  permanent  disability — not 
for  wounds  received  in  battle,  but  for  strains 


in  transporting  from  the  Southern  Confeder- 
acy the  sinews  of  war. 

Mr;  Anthony  Olney,  the  Superintendent, 
attempted  to  stay  the  storm  and  protect  the 
property,  but  soon  saw  how  futile  his  efforts 
were,  and  he  quit  serious  efforts  in  that  di- 
I'ection.     He  died  a  short  time  after  this. 

Soon  those  to  whom  the  Cairo  City  & 
Canal  Company  was  indebted  began  to  make 
efforts  to  collect  their  money  by  law.  They 
attached  everything  they  could  find  belonging 
to  the  company,  which  was  sold  at  public 
sale  for  a  mere  trifle.  For  nearly  two  years 
the  place  was  abandoned  by  all  the  repre- 
sentatives of  the  company,  and  the  mob  and 
the  officers  of  the  laws  had  effectually  dis- 
posed of  all  the  company's  property. 

In  1838,  just  previous  to  the  commence- 
ment of  the  improvements  noted  above,  the 
city  company  issued  the  following  circular: 

"  The  President  of  the  Cairo  City  &  Canal 
Company,  having  made  arrangements  in 
England  for  the  funds  requisite  to  carry  on 
their  contemplated  improvements  in  the  city 
of  Cairo,  upon  the  most  extensive  and  liberal 
scale,  it  is  now  deemed  proper  to  'give  pub- 
licity to  the  objects,  plans  and  other  matters 
connected  with  this  great  work,  in  order  that 
every  one  who  feels  an  interest  or  has  pride  in 
the  success  of  this  magnificent  public  enter- 
prise, may  properly  understand  and  appre- 
ciate the  motives  and  designs  of  the  project- 
ors. 

"  The  company,  from  the  commencement 
determined  to  withhold  from  sale,  at  any 
price,  the  corporate  property  of  the  city,  un- 
til it  should  be  made  manifest  to  the  most 
doubting  and  skeptical,  the  perfect  practica- 
bility of  making  the  site  of  the  city  of  Cairo 
habitable.  This  being  now  fully  established, 
by  the  report  of  the  distinguished  engineers, 
Messrs.  Strickland  &  Taylor,  of  Pennsyl- 
vania, and  also  by  that  of  the  principal  en- 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


93 


gineers  of  the  State  works  of  Illinois,  the 
company  are  (?)  proceeding  in  the  execution 
of  their  ( ?)  plans,  as  set  forth  in  their  pros 
pectus,  viz.:  To  make  the  levees,  streets 
and  embankments  of  the  city;  to  erect  ware- 
houses, stores  and  shops  convenient  for  every 
branch  of  commercial  business;  diy  docks; 
also  buildings  adapted  for  every  useful  me- 
chanical an  manufacturing  purpose,  and 
dwelling-houses  of  such  cost  and  description 
as  will  suit  the  taste  and  means  of  every 
citizen — which  course  has  been  adopted  as 
the  most  certain  to  secure  the  destined  popu- 
lation of  Cairo,  within  the  least  possible 
time.  The  company,  however,  wish  it  fully 
understood,  that  it  is  far  from  their  desire 
or  intention  to  monopolize,  or  engage  in  any 
of  the  various  objects  of  entei'prise,  trade  or 
business  which  must  of  necessity  spring  up 
and  be  carried  on  with  great  and  singular 
success  in  this  city;  it  being  their  governino- 
motive  to  offer  every  reasonable  and  proper 
encouragement  to  the  enterprising  and  skill- 
ful artisan,  manufactui-er,  merchant  and  pro- 
fessional man  to  identify  his  interests  with 
the  growth  and  i)rosperity  of  the  city.  When 
the  company  makes  sales  or  leases  of  prop- 
erty, it  will  be  on  such  liberal  terms  as  no 
other  toAvn  or  city  can  offer,  possessing  like 
advantages  for  the  acquisition  of  that  essen- 
tial means  of  human  happiness — wealth. 
The  President  of  the  company  is  fully  em- 
powered, whenever  he  shall  deem  it  expedi- 
ent, to  sell  or  lease  the  property,  and  other- 
wise to  represent  the  general  interests  and 
aflairs  of  the  company." 

This  proclamation  was  the  work  of  the 
President,  Holbrook,  and  it  was  the  aims, 
hopes,  ambitions  and  intentions  of  the  com- 
pany, as  he  was  willing  and  eager  for  all  the 
world  to  see  and  know  them.  In  this  mani- 
festo, Mr.  Holbrook  feels  constrained,  in  the 
name  of  the  company,  to  say,  "  that  it  is  far 


from  their  desire  or  intention  to  monopolize 
or  engage  in  any  of  the  various  objects  of 
enterprise,  trade  or  business,  which  must  of 
necessity  spring  up,  etc. "  It  was  only  after 
the  calamitous  crash  came  that  people  re- 
membered there  had  been  anything  reallv 
said  in  the  President's  circular  except  that 
"  the  President  of  the  Cairo  City  &  Canal 
Company,  having  made  arrangements  in 
England  for  the  funds  requisite  to  carry  out 
their  contemplated  improvements  in  the  city 
of  Cairo,  upon  the  most  extensive  mid  iiberal 
scale,  etc." 

The  subject  of  "funds"  was  all  that  caught 
the  eye  of  the  hopeful  comer  to  Cairo,  and 
the  liberal  and  extensive  works  of  buildim^- 
thfi  foundations  of  the  city,  that  caused  the 
money  to  pour  out  to  the  people  in  a  golden 
stream,  were  abundant  evidences  to  all  the 
Avorld  that  the  company  had  not  only  got  the 
money,  but  were  honestly  putting  it  to  the 
purposes  for  which  they  said  "  they  had 
secui-ed  it "  in  their  circular.  But  in  the 
great  financial  wreck,  that  carried  dowoi  such 
a  wide  circle  of  public  and  private  enter- 
prises, and  that  came  like  a  clap  of  thunder 
from  a  clouldess  sky,  the  larger  portion  of 
the  laborers  that  suffered  from  the  visitation 
looked  no  further  for  the  source  of  their  woe 
than  to  Holbrook  and  his  circular.  And  no 
doubt  that  here  was  the  origin  of  the  distrust 
of  this  man  and  his  schemes,  that  eventually 
widely  spread,  and  entered  deeply  into  the 
minds  of  men  all  over  our  country,  even  to 
that  extent  that  his  usefulness  ceased,  and 
he  returned  to  his  Boston  home  to  retire- 
ment from  his  struggles,  to  privacy  and 
death. 

When  Holbrook  got  the  money  from  Eng- 
land, he  put  his  engineers  at  once  to  work 
to  ascertain  the  wants  of  the  town  site  in  the 
way  of  protective  embankments  from  the 
waters  of  the  two  rivers  that  laved  the  three 


94 


HISTOHY  OF  CAIRO. 


sides  of  its  shores,  and  when  they  reported, 
he  put  1, 500  laborers  upon  this  work,  which 
he  was  pushing  vigorously  when  the  crash 
came.  The  levees  along  the  two  rivers  had 
been  regularly  made  and  joined  together  at 
the  southern  extremity,  but  the  cross  levee 
on  the  north,  to  connect  the  two  levees  on 
the  shores,  and  thus  encircling  the  entire  city, 
had  not  been  constructed,  and  thus,  practically, 
all  the  work  completed  was  of  little  or  no 
value  without  the  completion  of  the  north 
cross -levee. 

As  stated  above,  the  Cairo  City  &  Canal 
Company,  and  their  Superintendent,  Mr. 
Olney,  had  abandoned  the  town  and  their 
property,  and,  eventually,  so  did  nearly  all 
the  2,000  people  that  had  gathered  here, 
and  so  complete  was  this  exodus  that  it  is 
stated  less  than  fifty  of  them  permanently  re- 
mained. These  seem  to  have  been  an  easy, 
devil-may-care  class  of  men,  who  found 
themselves  the  happy  possessors,  and  for  all 
purposes  of  use  and  occupation,  the  owners 
of  a  great  young  city,  or  the  half-finished 
ground-plans  thereof. 

The  sudden  coming  together  of  what  all 
the  world  thought  to  be  a  young  and  prom- 
ising great  city  was  equaled  only  by  its  sud- 
den, almost  complete  desertion  when  the 
storm  of  adversity  broke  upon  it. 

The  completed  improvements  in  the  town 
were  the  iron  works  of  Bellews,  Hathaway  & 
Gilbert,  which  were  supplied  with  the  best 
English  machinery,  which  were  in  full  oper- 
ation, and  turning  out  much  valuable  prod- 
ucts. This  institution  continued  its  busi- 
ness, running  its  machinery  to  its  full  capac- 
ity until  the  22d  of  March,  18-1:2,  when  the 
floods  of  that  year,  owing  to  the  unfinished 
condition  of  the  levees,  washed  it  away.  This 
flood  at  the  same  time  swept  away  the  dry 
dock,  which  had  been  erected  at  a  cost  of 
over  S35,000,  when  it  was  seized   by  credit- 


ors, taken  to  New  Orleans  and  sold.  The 
City  Company  had  made  a  large  addition  to 
the  Cairo  Hotel,  which  was  thronged  with 
guests  at  all  times,  many  of  them  being 
tourists,  attracted  here  by  the  wide  name  and 
fame  of  Cairo.  Two  large  saw  mills  were 
turning  out  building  lumber  and  steamboat 
timbers.  A  three-story  planing  mill  was 
running  to  its  fullest  capacity.  This  was 
situated  on  the  corner  of  Eighth  street  and 
the  Ohio  levee.  The  steamer  Asia  and  the 
hull  of  the  steamer  Peru  had  been  moored  in 
front  of  the  city,  and  were  made  into  wharf- 
boats  and  hotels.  Holbrook  had  erected  a 
spacious  and  elegant  residence  on  the  spot 
now  occupied  by  the  Halliday  House.  The 
company  had  erected  twenty  neat  and  com- 
modious cottages  during  the  season  of  1841. 

Then  the  numerous  shanties,  cabins  and 
pole-huts,  together  with  the  unfinished  levees 
and  an  unfinished  railroad,  were  the  heirlooms 
that  became  the  possessions  of  the  happy-go- 
lucky  fifty  people  that  remained  here  amid 
the  general  wreck  and  ruin. 

In  April,  1843,  Miles  A.  Gilbert  was  ap- 
pointed Agent  of  the  Cairo  City  &  Canal 
Company,  to  take  possession,  care  and  gen- 
eral control  of  its  property  in  the  city.  The 
condition  in  which  he  found  matters  upon  his 
arrival  here,  the  mood  and  temper  and  claims 
of  the  people,  the  lawless  spirit  of  the  mob, 
and  their  primitive  notions  of  the  vested 
rights  to  everything  that  their  occupancy  had 
given  them,  the  episodes  Mr.  Gilbert  en- 
countered, that  drove  him  to  that  "  last  re- 
sort of  nations,"  ai-e  fully  told  in  the  bio- 
graphical sketch  of  him  in  another  part  of 
this  work. 

As  soon  as  Mr.  Gilbert  had  vindicated  his 
right  to  the  possession  and  control  of  the 
property,  he  put  a  force  of  laborers  at  work 
constructing  the  cross-levee,  from  the  Ohio 
to  the  Mississippi   levee,  and  this  was  com- 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


95 


pleted  during  the  year  1843.  He  also  re- 
paired, strengthened,  raised  and  leveled 
the  old  levees  running  along  the  river  banks. 
The  levees,  as  now  completed,  inclosed 
about  six  hundred  acres  of  ground.  Their 
average  height  above  the  natural  surface  of 
the  land  was   between  seven  and  eight  feet. 

Their  efficacy  as  embankments  to  keep  out 
the  waters  is  well  told  in  the  following  from 
Mr.  Miles  A.  Gilbert:  "  They  kept  out  the 
great  flood  in  the  Missisippi  of  June,  1844. 
Cairo  was  the  only  diy  spot  in  the  river  bot- 
toms to  be  found  between  St.  Louis  and 
New  Orleans.  That  season,  I  had  a  field  of 
corn,  of  many  acres,  planted  inside  the  Cairo 
levee,  which  gi-ew  to  maturity  and  ripened 
into  a  good  crop,  although  the  water  sur- 
rounding the  city  was  about  eight  feet  higher 
than  the  surface  of  the  corn-field." 

The  flood  in  the  Mississippi  River  of  the 
spring  of  1844  was  historical,  and  remains 
to  this  day,  as  marking  the  extreme  height 
to  which  the  waters  of  that  river  have  attained 
since  its  discovery.  The  writer  remembers 
standing  upon  the  high  blufl's  opposite  St. 
Louis,  when  the  waters  of  the  river  stretched 
from  the  base  of  the  hills  like  a  great  sea, 
and  as  he  looked  west  over  the  expanse  of 
waters,  could  see  no  dry  land  except  Monk's 
Mound,  which  was  covered  with  domestic 
animals.  From  Alton  to  New  Orleans,  the 
river  extended  from  the  hills  on  one  side  to 
the  hills  on  the  o})posite  side,  and  probably 
averaged  in  width  between  fifteen  and 
twenty  miles.  The  destruction  of  human 
life,  the  devastation  of  property,  in  all  this 
strip  of  wide  country,  for  twelve  hundred 
miles,  was  appalling.  Houses,  fences  and 
buildings  of  all  kinds  were  washed  away,  and 
a  wide  track  of  desolation  marked  the  whole 
course  of  the  river— -except  within  the  levee 
of  the  city  of  Cairo.  Here,  Miles  A.  Gril- 
bert's  field  of    corn  was    vigorously  pushing 


up  its  heads,  to  look  and  smile,  perhaps, 
upon  the  angry  fljod  that  surrounded  it. 
What  a  triumph  for  the  young  city,  to  fol- 
low, as  it  did,  so  closely  in  time  upon  the 
tracks  of  the  financial  disaster  that  had  swept 
over  it,  and  against  which  no  levees  or  em- 
bankments could  protect  it!  What  a  laurel 
wreath  it  was  for  Miles  A.  Gilbert  and  his 
co-laborers  in  their  heroic  determination  to 
overcome  all  obstacles,  and  build  a  city  here! 

Fi'om  the  hour  that  Mr.  Gilbert  finished 
and  inclosed  the  city  with  a  levee,  there 
has  come  to  the  town  no  disaster  from  the 
high  waters  in  the  Mississippi  River;  and 
yet  the  highest  floods  ever  known  in  that 
river  came  while  the  levees  were  so  con- 
structed and  finished  by  INIr.  Gilbert,  and 
before  they  had  been  raised  to  their  present 
height,  which  is  an  average  of  about  twelve 
feet  above  the  surface  of  the  ground  all 
around  the  city,  or,  in  other  words,  five  feet 
in  height  had  been  added  to  the  original 
levees. 

It  is  a  well-established  fact  that  even  the 
fii'st  levees  built  here  would  have  been  an 
abundant  protection  from  any  waters  in  the 
Mississippi  River.  While  this  wonderful 
river,  in  its  onward  surge  to  the  sea,  defies 
and  baffles  the  piiny  arm  of  man  to  guide, 
check  or  control  it,  yet  nature  has  so  arranged 
the  topography  o£  the  country,  thiough 
which  tht>  river  runs  between  this  point  and 
St.  Louis,  that  its  gi'eatest  floods  can  do 
no  hai-m  at  Cairo.  At  Grand  Chain,  the 
river  has  cut  its  bed  down  through  the  solid 
rocks  many  hundreds  of  feet,  and  the  great, 
water-seamed  cliffs  stand  facing  each  other, 
forming  the  narrowest  point,  and  the  highest 
perpendicular  rocky  bluffs  on  either  side  of 
any  other  place  in^the  Lower  Mississippi. 
This  narrow  gorge  holds  back  the  water 
above,  and  allows  it  only  to  pass  through  in 
such  quantities,  that   the   wide  bottoms  that 


96 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


commence  here  take  them  off  as  fast  as  they 
can  come. 

While  this  is  true  of  the  Mississippi  River, 
it  is  not  the  case  with  the  Ohio  Eiver.  The 
same  Grand  Chain  crosses  the  Ohio,  and 
passes  into  Kentucky  a  few  miles  above  here; 
yet  the  river  channel  has  not  been  so  con- 
fined by  steep,  rocky  shores,  but,  upon  the 
contrary,  there  is  quite  a  sufficient  space  for 
the  waters  in  uninterrupted  [volume,'even  at 
the  highest  stages. 

But  recent  experiences  teach  there  has  been 
a  materia]  change  in  the  frequency  and  force 
of  the  high  waters,  especially  in  the  Ohio 
River.  The  great  freshets  in  the  Mississippi 
are  usually  known  as  the  "  June  rise,"  and 
generally  come  from  the  melting  snows  in 
the  Rocky  Mountain  regions,  while  the  Ohio 
Eiver  is  almost  wholly  influenced  by  long- 
continued  heavy  rains  in  the  Mississippi 
Valley.  Since  1860,  the  drainage  of  the  en- 
tire agricultural  country  in  the  Valley  has 
been  greatly  increased,  until  lagoons  and 
marshes  and  ponds  that  ouce  held  the  rain- 
fall, and  •  allowed  it  to  pass  off  only  by 
evaporation,  are  now  dry  and  well-tilled 
farms.  So  wide  and  thorough  has  general 
drainage  been  inaugurated,  in  sm-face,  and 
subsoil  and  tile  drainage,  that  it  must  greatly 
affect  the  gathering  of  the  waters  to  the  large 
rivers,  and  is,  no  doubt,  one  of  the  large 
factors  in  producing  the  change  that  has 
taken  place  in  the  annual  freshets  in  our  rivers. 
Still  another  alleged  influence  is  the  clearing 
out  of  the  forests  all  over  tbe  country,  and  thus 
taking  from  the  atmosphere  and  the  soil  one 
large  source  of  gathering  and  holding  back 
the  waters.  But  this  last  theory  is  somewhat 
fuddled  by  the  often- advanced  philosophical 
idea  that  the  cutting  away  of  the  forests  re- 
duces the  rainfall,  and  heoce  the  great 
droughts  which  so  severely  afflict  the  country 
at  now  frequent  intervals.     One  or  the  other, 


perhaps  both,  of  these  theories  are  false,  yet 
there  is  one  thing  well  established,  namely, 
that  a  heavily- timbered  country  always  be- 
speaks a  large  rainfall  there,  while  the  treeless 
desert  as  certainly  tells  of  a  cloudless  sky 
and  no  rainfall.  So,  if  the  trees  do  not  pro- 
duce an  increase  in  the  rain,  the  rain  cer- 
tainly does  increase  the  tree  growth. 

When  Miles  F.  Gilbert  had  completed  his 
levees  around  the  city  of  Cairo,  in  1843,  he 
had  walled  the  waters  out,  and  fenced  in  the 
ragged  squad  of  fifty  men,  women  and  chil- 
dren that  constituted  the  population  of  the 
forlorn  city.  This  tattered  remnant  of  peo- 
ple had  taken  and  held  possession  of  the 
houses,  and  the  first  choice  of  hut,  shanty, 
cottage,  Holbrook's  handsome  residence,  or 
mill,  or  factory,  was  to  the  swift  of  foot,  who, 
when  the  exodus  commenced,  could  get  there 
first,  and  acquire  ownership  by  possession. 
They  evidently  looked  upon  Mr.  Gilbert  with 
some  distrust  and  ill-will,  as  he  was  "  not 
regular"  in  this;  he  claimed  there  were  yet 
property  rights  here  of  the  Cairo  &  Canal 
Company,  and  he  further  believed  in  the 
majesty  and  supremacy  of  the  law  of  the 
land.  He  ^ave  his  time  and  labored  faith- 
fully, never,  for  a  moment,  so  doubting  his 
eyes  and  senses  as  to  lose  faitli  in  the  future 
great  destiny  of  Cairo.  From  1843  to  1851 
did  he  continue  thus  to  "hold  the  fort," 
and  protect  the  town  and  build  up  its  inter- 
ests. In  those  eight  long  years  of  decay  and 
dilapidation,  the  population  increased  only 
from  50  to  200  souls.  Except  for  the 
efforts  of  Mr.  Gilbert,  there  was  an  interreg- 
num here,  and  a  prostration  of  the  hopes  of 
the  lown  quite  as  profound  as  was  the  finan- 
cial and  commercial  panic  in  the  country 
generally.  And  all  over  the  West  this  pros- 
tration lasted  until  the  passage  by  Congress 
of  the  bill  for  the  building  of  the  Illinois 
Central  Railroad,  in  February,  1851. 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


99 


April  15,  1851,  S.  Staats  Taylor  succeeded 
M.  A.  Gilbert,  as  Agent  of   the  Trustees  of 
the  Cairo  City  Property.      At  that  time,  only 
about  fifty   acres,  along  the  Ohio  River,  near 
its    confluence   with   the    Mississippi    Eiver 
were  cleared.     The  rest  of  the  grounds  were 
mostly  covered  with  a  dense   growth  of  tim- 
ber.     The  buildings  and  other  improvements 
made    by  the  city    company,    from    1837    to 
1842,  had  nearly  all  fallen  and  decayed,  or 
been    removed.     Only   a    few   buildings  re- 
mained,   and   they    were    in  a    tumble-down 
condition.     The  Central  Railroad  had  made 
arrangements  to   commence  the  construction 
of  its   road,  and    desiring    privileges  within 
the  city  of  Cairo,  and  the  right  of  way  from 
the  north  to  the  south  limits  of  the  town,  on 
June    11,      1851,    Thomas     S.     Taylor    and 
Charles  Davis,  the  Trustees,  living  in  New 
"York,  entered    into  a  contract  with  the  rail- 
road   company   to   construct    and    maintain 
levees  around  the  city.     The  consideration 
paid  the  railroad,  in  addition  to  the  right  of 
way  through  the  city,  was  487  acres  of  land, 
this    land   mostly  on   each  side  of   the  track 
and  the  levees    around  the  city,  with  certain 
tracts  extending  to  the  rivers  on  each  side  of 
the  city.     This  agreement  provided  that  the 
railroad  company  should  encompass  the  city 
with    a    levee  or    embankment    of    adequate 
height  to  exclude  the  waters  of    the   rivers 
at  any  then  known  stage  or  rise  of  the  same; 
that  this  embankment  or    levee  should  be  so 
formed  or   graded  as  to  furnish  a   street  or 
roadway,    as     nearly    level,    transversely,    as 
might  be   deemed  proper,  of    not    less   than 
eighty  feet  in  width,  and,  beyond  the  street 
or  roadway,  to  slope   toward  the   river,  on  a 
descent  of   one    foot  in  five,  to    the    natural 
surface  of  the  land,  which  [slope  was  to  have 
been  continued  toward  the  river,  to  low  water 
mark. 

As  this  agreement  and  contract  was  event- 


ually the  most  important  to  the  city  com- 
pany, to  the  town  and  to  the  railroad,  and 
led  finally  to  misuodorstandings  and  lawsuits 
between  the  two  companies,  and  to  much  dis- 
cussion and  disputes  among  property  holders 
in  the  city,  and  as  they  have  never  been 
properly  understood  by  the  many  interested 
therein,  we  give  them  hei-e  entire,  together 
with  the  correspondence  arising  therefrom 
between  the  railroad,  the  city  company  and 
the  property  holders: 

"  AGREEMENT. 

"  The  Illinois  Central  Railroad  Company, 
with  the  Trustees  of  the  Cairo  City 
Property.     June  11,  1S51. 

"  Memorandum  of  an  agreement  made  pro- 
visionally, this  11th  day  of  June,  1851.  be- 
tween Thomas  S.  Taylor  and  Charles  Davis, 
of  the  first  part,  and  the  Illinois  Central 
Railroad  Company  of  the  second  part. 

"1.  It  is  hereby  mutually  agreed,  that 
proper  deeds,  conveyances  and  instruments 
necessary  to  secure  the  performance  of  this 
agreement,  shall  bo  executed  by  the  respect- 
ive parties  hereto,  when  prepared  in  due 
form  of  law  and  with  accurate  descriptions. 

"  2.  It  is  also  agreed,  that  the  site  of 
Cairo  City,  substantially  as  shown  on  a  map 
thereof  made  by  H.  C.  Long,  dated  June, 
1851,  and  annexed  hereto,  "shall  be  estab- 
lished by  the  parties  of  the  first  part,  and 
maintained  by  them  against  the  abrasion  and 
wear  of  the  waters  of  the  rivers,  and  that  all 
the  constructions,  of  whatever  nature,  for  the 
purposes  of  forming,  maintaining  and  pro- 
tecting the  site  of  the  city,  shall  be  made  by 
and  at  the  cost  of  the  parties  of  the  first 
part. 

"  3.  It  is  agreed,  that  this  site  shall  be 
encompassed  entirely  by  a  levee  or  embank - 
mpnt  of  adequate  height  to  exclude  the 
waters  of  the  rivers  at  any  stage  or  rise  of 
the  same  now  known,  to  be  established,  for 


100 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


the  purposes  of  this  agreement,  by  the  en- 
gineers of  both  parties,  which  shall  be  so 
formed  and  graded  as  to  furnish  a  street  or 
roadway  as  nearly  level,  transversely,  as  may 
be  deemed  proper,  of  not  less  than  eighty 
feet  in  width,  and,  beyond  the  width 
adopted  for  the  level  _  street  or  roadway,  to 
slope  toward  the  rivers,  on  a  descent  of  one 
foot  in  five,  to  the  uatiu-al  surface  of  the  land 
— which  slope  is  to  be  continued  toward  the 
river,  to  a  point  to  be  selected  by  the  en- 
gineers at  low  water  mark;  but  a  level  sur- 
face (transversely)  may  be  introduced  between 
the  slope  of  the  levee  or  embankment  and 
the  slope  down  to  the  low  water  mark,  in  case 
the  width  of  the  bank  between  the  water  and 
the  levee  should  make  it  necessary  or  expedi- 
ent, and  it  should  be  so  arranged  by  the  en- 
gineers of  both  parties.  All  of  which  em- 
bankment, or  levee,  or  slopes,  and  inter- 
mediate level,  if  any  there  be,  shall  be 
made,  formed  and  graded  by  and  at  the  cost 
of  the  parties  of  the  second  part. 

"  4.  It  is  agreed,  that  the  location  of  the 
levee  or  embankment  shall  be  such  as  will 
supply,  from  the  excavation  and  removal  of 
the  earth  forming  the  slope  to  the  low  water 
mark,  all  the  earth  necessary  for  the  forma- 
tion, grading  and  construction  of  the  levee 
or  embankment,  with  only  such  variations  in 
the  places  as  the  engineers  of  both  parties 
may  agree  upoQ  as  absolutely  necessary. 

"  5.  It  is  agi-eed,  that  when  the  levee 
street  is  formed  and  graded,  of  a  width  of 
not  less  than  eighty  feet  on  top,  and  the 
slope  of  the  levee  wharf  formed  and  graded, 
that  the  same  shall  be  considered  as  com- 
pleted under  this  agi'eement,  and  that  no 
further  protection  or  construction,  such  as 
paving,  planking,  etc.,  shall  be  required  of 
the  parties  of  the  second  part;  biit  all  re- 
pairs, works  or  constructions  which  may 
thereafter   become  essential  or  necessary  for 


the  preservation,  maintenance  and  rej^air 
of  the  levee  or  embankment  shall  be  made  by 
and  at  the  cost  of  the  parties  of  the  second 
part;  and  such  as  may  be  essential  and  neces- 
sary for  the  preservation,  maintenance  and 
repair  of  the  level  in  front  of  the  levee  or  em- 
bankment, and  of  the  slopes  or  levee-wharf, 
shall  be  made  by  and  at  the  cost  of  the  parties 
of  the  first  part,  except  in  front  of  those  parcels 
of  land  to  be  appropriated  to  the  parties  of 
the  second  part,  extending  r,o  and  into  the 
waters  of  the  rivers,  where  the  level,  slopes 
or  levee-wharf  shall  be  maintained  and  re- 
paired by  and  at  the  cost  of  the  parties  of 
the  second  part,  but  not  so  far  as  to  dis- 
charge the  parties  of  the  first  part  from  the 
agreement  to  establish  and  maintain  the  site 
of  the  city  No.  2. 

"  6.  It  is  agreed,  that  the  parties  of  the 
second  part  may,  whenever  they  may  see  fit, 
lay  do\vn,  construct  and  operate  a  single  or 
double  line  of  rails,  of  such  form  or  rail, 
gauge  and  manner  of  construction  as  they 
may  deem  judicious,  upon  or  along  the  levee 
or  embankment  or  any  part  thereof;  and 
may  use  the  same  for  the  transportation  of 
passengers,  goodf  and  merchandise,  by  steam 
or  other  power — subject  only  to  such  reason- 
able and  just  rules  and  regulations,  as  to 
the  use  of  their  tracts,  as  may  be  made  and 
imposed  by  the  proper  authorities  of  Cairo 
City  for  the  time  being,  but  no  rules  or  reg- 
ulations shall  be  imposed,  or  if  imposed 
need  be  respected,  which,  in  effect,  would 
essentially  eflfectually  impair  or  entirely  de- 
stroy its  right  of  constructing  and  operating 
the  tracks  on  the  levee  or  embankment. 

"  7.  It  is  agreed,  that  cross-levees  or  em- 
bankments shall  be  made  and  maintained  by 
and  at  the  cost  of  the  parties  of  the  second 
part,  of  adequate  height  and  width  for  the 
purposes  proposed  for  them,  which  shall 
cross  from  the  levee  or   embankment   on  the 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


101 


Mississippi  to  that  on  the  Ohio,  one  of  them 
on  and  upon  the  strip  of  land  marked  on  the 
map  A,  and  the  other  on  the  strip  of  land  at 
the  northern  boundary  of  the  city,  marked 
B;  but  no  public  streets  or  highways  are  to 
be  laid  out  upon  these  levees  or  embank- 
ments, except  to  cross  the  same  nearly  or 
exactly  at  right  angles;  and  the  tracks  and 
rails  laid  thereon  are  not  to  be  subject  to  any 
rules  or  regulations  other  than  those  Avhich 
are  imposed  upon  the  parties  of  the  second 
part  by  their  act  of  incorporation  aod  the 
laws  of  the  land. 

"  8.  It  is  agreed,  that  the  parties  of  the 
second  part  shall  proceed  with  due  diligence 
in  the  construction  of  the  crosslevee  or  em- 
bankment on  the  lower  strip  marked  A,  and 
of  the  levee  or  embankment  below  the  same, 
and  entirely  around  the  point  of  the  city,  at 
the  confluence  of  the  rivers,  as  shown  on  the 
map;  but  that  they  may  postpone  to  such 
time  as  they  may  deem  reasonable  and 
proper,  the  construction  of  the  cross-levee  or 
embankment  on  the  upper  strip  of  land, 
marked  B.  and  the  levees  or  embankments 
to  connect  with  those  previously  constnicted 
on  the  lower  portion  of  the  city. 

"9.  It  is  agi'eed,  that  the  parties  of  the 
second  part  may  locate  their  railroad  gfrom 
the  northern  line  of  Cairo  City,  upon  the 
line  of  the  width  of  roadway  [shown  on  the 
annexed  map,  being  100  feet,  to  a  point  to 
be  established  and  fixed  by  the  engineers  of 
the  two  parties,  in  the  northern  line  of  the 
cross  strip  of  land,  marked  A  on  the  annexed 
map,  and  below  and  south  of  that  point  on 
and  over  all  the  land  colored  blue  on  said 
map,  to  be  surveyed  and  described  by  metes 
and  bounds;  and  also  on  and  over  all  the 
lands  colored  blue  on  the  annexed  map, 
above  the  northerly  line  of  the  strip  marked 
A,  on  each  river  to  the  northerly  line  of  the 
city;  and  also  on  and    over  the  strip  of  laud 


marked  B,  including  in  the  preceding  de- 
scription the  station  lots,  depot  grounds  and 
levee  wharves  shown  on  the  said  map. 

"  10.  It  is  agreed,  that  when  the  above 
location  shall  have  been  made  according  to 
law,  that  the  deeds  of  release  and  cession 
shall  be  made,  executed  and  delivered  by  the 
parties  of  the  first  part,  to  the  parties  of  the 
second  part,  inthe  consideration  of  the  agree- 
ment on  their  part  for  the  construction  and 
maintenance  of  the  levees,  embankments  and 
slopes  above  described,  of  all  the  lands  and 
premises  to  which  refei'ence  has  heretofore 
been  made,  and  which  are  to  be  particularly 
smweyed  and  accurately  located  and  de- 
scribed, to  hold  the  same  absolutely  in  fee 
simple,  for  the  uses  and  purposes  of  the  said 
railroad  and  its  business,  and  for  the  trans- 
portation of  passengers,  goods  and  merchan- 
dise and  the  station  accommodations,  storage, 
receipt,  delivery  and  safe  keeping  of  the 
same,  and  for  the  machine  and  repair  shops, 
engine  and  car  houses,  turn-tables,  water 
tanks,  and  generally  for  all  the  wants  and 
requirements  of  the  railroad  service,  so  \oncr 
as  the  said  parties  of  the  second  part  shall 
continue  to  use,  occupy  and  operate  tlie  same 
for  the  purposes  above  intended. 

"11.  It  is  agreed,  that  the  parties  of  the 
second  part  may  lay  down,  maintain  and 
operate  their  lines  of  tracks  and  rails,  upon 
the  above -described  lands,  in  such  manner 
and  form  as  they  may  deem  proper;  ami  mav 
use  thereon  steam,  or  other  power  of  any 
kind,  subject  only  to  the  general  liabilities  of 
land -owners  as  to  the  use  of  their  propt'rtv, 
but  exempt  from  any  special  rules  or  obliga- 
tions imposed  or  attempted  to  be  imposed  by 
the  parties  of  the  first  part,  or  any  and  every 
grantees  or  grantee  of  the  Cairo  City  Proper- 

ty. 

"  12.  It  is  agreed,  that  the  tracks  or  lines 
of  rails  of   the   parties  of  the   second   pavt, 


102 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


to  be  laid  down  on  tlie  strip  of  land,  of  100 
feet  in  width,  running  entirely  around  the 
city,  shall  be  laid,  as  nearly  as  may  be,  at 
and  under  each  street  crossing,  upon  the 
natural  level  or  grade  of  the  land,  in  order 
to  gain  as  much  elevation  as  possible  under 
the  bridges  to  bo  erected  by  the  parties  of 
the  first  part,  and  each  at  every  street  cross- 
ing, but  the  grade  may  vary  from  the  natural 
surface  at  all  other  points,  as  the  parties  of 
the  second  part  may  see  fit. 

"13.  It  is  agreed,  that  the  cross  streets 
are  to  be  located  by  the  parties  of  the  first 
part,  across  and  over  the  strip  of  land  men- 
tioned in  the  preceding  article,  with  a  space 
of  at  least  400  feet  between  them;  and  are 
to  be  graduated  so  as  to  cross  the  strip  of 
land  on  bridges,  with  at  least  sixteen  feet 
above  the  rails  of  the  parties  of  the  second 
part,  for  the  passage  of  engines,  and  that  no 
crossing  shall  be  laid  out  to  cross  the  tracks 
in  any  other  way  "than  with  sufficient  space 
below  it  for  the  passage  of  engines,  and  that 
no  crossing  through  or  upon  any  of  the  sta- 
tion or  depot  lands. 

"  14.  It  is  agreed,  that  the  parties  of  the 
first  part  are  to  build  and  maintain  all 
the  bridges  or  street  crossings,  at  their  ex- 
pense and  cost,  and  that  the  parties  of  the 
second  part  ai-e  to  drain  and  protect  the  strip 
of  land  above-mentioned,  by  sewers,  drains, 
culverts  and  fences,  at  their  expense  and 
costs. 

"  15.  It  is  agreed,  that  the  parties  of  the 
second  part  shall  release  and  convey  to  the 
parties  of  the  first  part,  all  their  right,  title 
and  interest  of,  in  and  to  a  certain  depot  lot 
in  the  city  of  Cairo,  containing  ten  acres  of 
land,  conveyed  to  them  by  the  State  of 
Illinois  by  deed  dated  the  24th  day  of 
March,  1851,  and  also  of,  in  and  to  all  the 
roadway  of  the  railroad  heretofore  located 
in  the  city  of    Cairo  and  also   conveyed   to 


them  by  the  above-mentioned  indenture,  so 
far  as  the  same  may  not  be  included  within 
the  boundaries  of  the  lands  and  premises, 
which  are  intended  to  be  conveyed  to  the 
parties  of  the  second  part,  under  this  agi'ee- 
ment. 

"  16.  Finally,  it  is  agreed,  that  in  case 
of  the  necessity  of  any  further  covenants 
or  aiTangements,  to  carry  out  the  pui'poses 
of  this  agreement,  or  eq^lanatory  of  the 
same,  but  not  essentially  to  impair  or  mod- 
ify the  same,  that  both  parties  will  proceed 
to  adjust  and  execute  the  same,  in  the  full 
spirit  of  mutual  confidence  in  which  this 
agi-eement  has  been  negotiated  and  settled, 
and  that  in  the  event  of  any  misunderstand- 
ing or  disagreement  of  any  kind,  or  in  any 
way  connected  with  this  agreement,  its  pur- 
poses and  objects,  that  the  points  of  disagree- 
ment and  dispute  shall  be  reduced  to  writ- 
ing, and  in  that  form  submitted  to  the  arbit- 
rament and  decision  of  three  I'efei-ees,  to  be 
chosen  in  the  usual  manner. " 

This  agreement  was  duly  signed  by  Robert 
Schuyler,  President  of  the  Illinois  Central 
Railroad  Company,  and  by  T.  S.  Taylor  and 
Charles  Davis,  Trustees  of  the  Cairo  City 
Property. 

In  addition  to  the  foregoing  vast  consider- 
ation of  lands  and  privileges  granted  to  the 
Illinois  Central  Railroad  Company,  5,000 
shares  of  the  Cairo  City  stock  were  conveyed 
to  the  order  of  the  Directors  of  that  com- 
pany, by  the  Trustees  of  the  Cairo  City  Prop- 
erty, as  appears  by  the  following  extract 
from  a  circular  published  by  them  in  Novem- 
ber, 1854,  for  the  information  of  the  share- 
holders, and  of  all  others  interested,  or  wish- 
ing to  become  interested  therein: 

"In  the  year  1851,  the  Trustees  made  the 
most  advantageous  arrangements  for  the 
property,  by  which  they  secured  the  con- 
struction  of   the  Illinois    Central   Railroad, 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


108 


from  Cairo,  as  its  southern  terminus,  to 
Chicago  and  Galena;  and  by  which  they 
also  secured  the  completion  of  the  levees  of 
the  most  permanent  character,  and  inclosing 
the  whole  site  of  Cairo,  by  the  said  Illinois 
Central  Railroad  Company,  and  at  its  ex- 
pense. These  arrangements  were  perfected 
by  the  Trustees,  by  an  authorized  expend- 
itui-e  or  issue  of  5,000  new  shares  in  the 
'Cairo  City  Property,'  and  by  donations  of 
the  land  at  Cairo  needed  for  railroad  and 
other  purposes." 

On  May  31,  1855,  the  following  additional 
memorandum  of  an  agreement  was  made  and 
entered  into  between  Thomas  S.  Taylor,  of  the 
city  of  Philadelphia,  and  Charles  Davis,  of 
the  city  of  New  York,  Trustees  of  the  Cairo 
City  Property,  of  the  first  part,  and  the  Illi- 
nois Central  Railroad  Company  of  the 
second  part: 

"  "Whereas,  the  said  parties  did,  on  the 
11th  day  of  June,  1851,  make  and  enter  into 
a  certain  agreement  with  each  other,  relative 
to  the  'deeding  and  conveying  certain  prop- 
erty at  Cairo,  by  the  said  first  to  the  said 
second  party,  and  in  consideration  thereof 
for  the  construction  of  certain  levees  and 
works,  for  the  protection  of  the  said  city  of 
Cairo  from  the  waters  of  the  Ohio  and  Mis- 
sissippi Rivers,  by  the  said  party  of  the 
second  part;  and 

"  Whereas,  the  said  deed  and  conveyances 
have  been  executed,  delivered  and  accepted, 
and  a  part  of  the  levee  to  be  constructed,  on 
the  Ohio  River,  had  been  begun  and  partly 
completed,  and  in  other  respects  said  con- 
tract remains  to  be  executed;  and 

"  Whereas,  for  the  purpose  of  obviating 
misunderstanding,  as  well  as  because  re- 
monstrances seem  to  render  it  expedient,  it 
has  been  deemed  best  to  modify  the  said  con- 
tract in  one  or  two  particulars,  as  well  as  to 


render   more    clear   its  meaning   in    others; 
now,  therefore, 

"  This  Indenture  icitnesseth,  That,  for  the 
consideration  named  in  said  agi-eement,  and 
in  consideration  of  tbe  premises,  and  of  $1 
by  each  of  the  parties  hereto  paid  to  the 
others,  the  receipt  whereof  is  mutually  con- 
fessed, it  is  agi-eed  by  the  said  parties  as  fol- 
lows, to  wit: 

^^  First.  The  said  second  party  agrees  that 
the  levee  on  the  Ohio  River,  now  under  con- 
struction, shall  be  completed  to  low  water 
mark,  which  has  been  designated  and  fixed 
by  the  engineers  of  both  parties,  at  a  point 
forty -two  feet  below  the  grade  line  of  the 
levees,  as  soon  as  the  condition  of  the  river 
will  permit,  and  the  paving  in  front  of  the 
lots  of  land  conveyed  by  the  first  parties  to 
the  said  second  parties,  under  the  agreement 
of  the  11th  of  June,  required  to  be  done  by 
the  parties  of  the  second  part  before  men- 
tioned, shall  be  prosecuted  and  completed  by 
the  second  pai'ties  with  all  convenient  dis- 
patch; and  the  first  parties  shall,  in  like 
manner,  prosecute  and  complete  the  pave- 
ment in  front  of  the  remainder  of  the  said 
levee,  when  completed  as  above. 

"  Second.  The  said  fii'st  party  agrees,  that 
the  completion  of  the  remaining  parts  of  the 
levee  agi'eed  upon  and  described  in  the  said 
agreement  of  June  11,  and  the  constniction 
of  which  was  therein  undertaken  by  the  said 
second  parties,  as  is  herein  agreed,  but  in  no 
way  modifying  the  s&id  original  agi-eement  in 
this  respect,  except  as  to  the  time  of  con- 
structing and  completing  said  levees,  and 
that  upon  the  condition  of  the  construction 
of  protective  embankments,  as  hereinafter 
agreed. 

"  Third.  The  said  party  of  the  second  part 
agree  to  maintain  in  good  repair  the  protec- 
tive   embankment,    now    existing,    from    the 


104 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


point  of  the  confluence  of  the  Rivera  Ohio  and 
Mississippi  to  the  old  cross  embankment,  to 
the  height  of  the  newly- constructed  levee  on 
the  Ohio  River,  except  so  far  as  the  engineers 
of  both  parties  shall  deem  it  advisable  to 
deviate  from  the  present  course  of  the  same; 
and  in  case  it  shall  be  deemed  advisable  to 
deviate  from  it  at  any  point,  the  ,  new  em- 
bankment required  to  be  constructed  by  the 
said  direction  shall  be  constructed  and  main- 
tained by  the  said  party  of  the  second  part, 
to  the  same  height  and  in  the  same  manner  as 
tliey  are  a'equired  to  maintain  the  present 
embaukment. 

"  The  said  second  party  shall  and  will  also 
construct  and  maintain  a  new  protective  em- 
bankment upon  the  Mississippi  River,  from 
a  point  at  the  westerly  end  of  the  old  cross 
embankment,  to  be  fixed  by  the  engineers  of 
both  parties,  upon  a  location  to  be  determined 
by  said  engineers,  to  connect  with  the  ti'ack 
of  the  Illinois  Central  Railroad,  at  or  near 
the  strip  of  land  marked  'A'  upon  the  map 
or  plan  fixed  to  said  agreement  of  the  11th 
of  June,  A.  I).  1851 ;  and  the  mark  to  be  re- 
quired for  the  construction  and  i-epair  of  the 
embankments  herein  mentioned,  shall  be  com- 
pleted before. the  1st  day  of  December  next. 
"  Fourth.  The  embankments  above  pro- 
vided, but  which  are  only  provisional  and 
temporary,  sitbstituted  for  the  levees  agreed 
to  be  constructed  by  the  said  second  parties, 
shall  be  maintained  and  kept  in  repair  by 
the  said  party  of  the  second  part,  until  the 
levees  by  them  agreed  to  be  constructed  shall 
be  built  in  the  manner  and  form  as  prefaced 
in  the  said  agreement  of  11th  June,  1851. 
And  the  said  second  parties  agree  to  construct 
and  complete  the  said  levees  as  fast  as  ^the 
business  of  the  Illinois  Central  Railroad  re- 
quires the  extension  of  the  track  over  and 
upon  any  portion  of  the  bank  of  the  Missis- 
sippi River,  which  is  to  be  protected  by  such 


embankment,  whether  upon  the  levee  or  on 
the  inner  track,  and  shall  in  like  jnanner 
construct  a  similar  levee  or  levees,  upon  the 
banks  of  the  Ohio,  between  the  land  by  the 
strij)  marked  'A'  upon  the  said  map  or  plan, 
and  the  levee  already  constructed  upon  the 
bank  of  said  river,  as  the  business  of  the 
city  of  Cairo  shall  require  it,  and  the  parties 
of  the  first  part,  or  their  successors,  shall  re- 
quire it  to  be  done. 

******* 

^^ Eighth.  The  parties  of  the  second  part 
shall  examine  the  Mississippi  bank,  on  the 
tract  of  land  conveyed  to  them  for  a  station, 
and  take  all  necessary  steps  to  protect  the 
same  from  further  abrasion  until  the  con- 
struction of  the  permanent  levees,  according 
to  the  said  agreement  of  the  11th  June,  1851, 
at  their  own  expense. 

"  They  shall,  in  like  manner,  examine  and 
protect  the  point  of  the  Mississippi  River, 
where  the  abrasion  has  affected  the  old  em- 
bankment, and  do  what  is  necessary  to  pro- 
tect it  for  the  same  period,  at  their  own  ex- 
pense. 

"  They  shall  also  survey  the  Mississippi 
River  banks  opposite  the  point  nearest  the 
Cache  River,  and  shall  dn  at  their  ex- 
pense, what  is  in  the  report  of  the  sm-veyors 
necessary  to  protect  the  same  from  further 
abrasion  or  inroads;  provided  such  work  shall 
not  exceed  in  expense  the  sum  of  $20,000; 
and  provided  also,  all  the  work  herein  pro- 
vided for,  as  well  as  the  said  provisional 
temporary  embankment,  shall  be  constructed 
under  the  joint  superintendence  of  the  en- 
gineers of  the  two  parties,  and  be  proceeded 
with  as  early  as  practicable." 

This  agreement  concludes  by  specifying 
that  the  original  agreement  is  to  remain  in 
full  force,  except  where  modified  by  this> 

It  is  then  duly  signed  and  acknowledged 
by   W.  H.    Osborn,  President  of  the  Illinois 


IILSTOKY  OF  CAIRO. 


105 


Central    Railroad,    and   by   the   Cairo   City 
Property. 

There  were  many  causes  occm-ring,  be- 
tween the  dates  of  this  first  and  second 
agreement,  that  led,  finally,  to  the  adoption 
of  the  additional  and  explanatory  second 
agreement  between  the  two  interested  par- 
ties, the  leading  ones  of  which  are  yet  the  un- 
written though  important  part  of  the  city's 
history. 

In  accordance  with  the  terms  of  the  first 
agreement  of  1851,  the  Illinois  Central  Rail- 
road, in  a  short  time  after  the  adoption  of 
the  articles,  proceeded  about  the  work  of 
making  new  levees,  "and  to  construct  these  ac- 
cording to  the  terms  of  the  contract. 

In  order  to  the  better  understanding  of 
the  work  done  by  the  road,  it  is  proper  to  ex- 
plain that  the  levees,  as  completed  under 
the  BUj)ervision  of  Miles  A.  Gilbert,  were 
constructed  near  the  banks  of  the  two  rivers, 
ai-d  circling  and  coming  together  at  the  south 
upon  the  line  now  occupied  by  the  levee. 
The  north  cross- levee  was  upon  a  ridge  of 
ground  commencing  near  the  present  Illinois 
Central  Railroad  stone  depot  (about  Tenth 
street),  and  running  directly  west  to  the  Mis- 
sissippi River,  inclosing  about  six  hundred 
acres.  By  the  contract  with  the  Central 
road,  the  north  cross-levee  was  to  be  ex- 
tended, or  caii'ied  north,  so  that  the  levees 
would  inclose  about  thirteen  hundred  acres 
of  ground,  or  to  the  position  substantially  as 
DOW  consti'ucted. 

The  new  levees  along  the  rivers  were  lo- 
cated inside  the  old  levees,  and,  whei'e  prac- 
ticable, their  dirt  was  used  on  the  new  ones. 

The  President  and  Directors  of  the  Illinois 
Central  Railroad  Company  were,  unques- 
tionably, in  good  faith  anxious  to  fulfill  their 
contract;  construct  strong  and  really  protect- 
ive levees;  stop  the  abrasion  of  the  natural 
bank  on  the  Mississippi  side,  and  fui'ther  the 


interest  of  their  road  and  the  city,  and  help 
build  a  great  city  here.  But  their  work  upon 
the  levees  soon  began  to  di'ag;  to  meet  un- 
accountable obstructions;  to  work  at  loose 
pui'poses,  and  often  to  assume  the  appear- 
ances of  undoing  good  work  that  had  been 
before  done,  and  tearing  down  instead  of 
building  up.  This  inexplicable  course  of 
circumstances  would  often  menace  the  very 
existence  of  the  city;  greatly  astound  and 
exasperate  the  Cairo  City  Property,  as  well 
as  the  President  and  Directors  of  the  Central 
road. 

The  secret  of  these  studied  wrongs  that  so 
greatly  injured  the  city,  and  fi'om  the  evil 
effects  of  some  of  them  it  has  hardly  re- 
covered yet,  was  this:  The  Chief  Engineer 
of  the  Central  Railroad — a  man  named  Ash- 
ley— and  it  is  alleged  other  ofiicers,  and 
among  them  R.  B.  Mason,  the  Superintend- 
ent, had  conceived  a  daring  scheme  of  specu- 
lation, whereby  they  purchased  a  great  deal 
of  real  estate  in  and  around  Mound  City, 
and  in  order  to  make  this  valuable  they  un- 
dertook to  destroy  Cairo,  and  thereby  make 
Mound  City  the  actual  terminal  point  of  the 
road.  And  Engineer  Ashley  evidently  an- 
ticipated that  his  official  position  in  con- 
trolling the  work  in  Cairo  would  enable  him 
to  carry  out  this  poi'pose. 

That  such  was  their  cunning  scheme,  which 
Ashley  boldly  attempted,  is  strongly  evi- 
denced by  this  incident,  as  well  as  many 
others  that  occurred  in  the  year  1854,  as 
follows: 

A  contractor  upon  the  levee  work,  named 
Dutcher,  brought  on  a  force  of  six  hundred 
or  more  laborers  to  wox'k  on  the  road  and 
levees,  and  commenced  to  cut  down  the  old 
levees,  and,  as  he  stated,  for  the  purpose 
of  erecting  the  new  ones.  But  the  new  ones 
were  left  with  gi-eat  gaps,  and  often  there 
were  long  stretches  where  there  were  no  ap- 


106 


HISTORY  OF  CAIEO. 


pearance  of  new  embankments  going  up. 
In  the  meantime,  the  high  waters  began  to 
come  down  the  rivers,  and  the  agent  of  the 
Cairo  City  Propex'ty  began  to  realize  that 
Dutcher  was  exposing  the  city.  He  said  all 
he  could  to  change  the  course  of  the  work, 
but  Dutcher  would  only  promise  and  do  noth- 
ing. When  it  became  plain  something  must 
be  done  quickly,  IMr.  Taylor  employed  300 
men  to  work  at  night,  and  bank  off  ,the  ris- 
ing waters,  where  the  levees  had  been  cut 
down.  They  would  go  to  work  in  the  even- 
ing, wheD  Dutcher's  men  would  quit  work. 
After  this  had  gone  on  two  or  three  nights, 
Mr.  Dutcher  claimed  the  city  company  were 
interfering  with  his  work,  and  he  abandoned 
his  contract,  and  turned  adrift  his  force  of 
600  men,  all  of  whom,  of  coui'se,  were  given 
to  understand  that  the  city  company  had 
brought  about  the  troubles.  On  the  third 
night,  when  the  night  laborers  repaired  to 
their  work — the  waters  eveiy  moment  now 
becoming  very  dangerous — they  found  their 
works  and  tools  in  the  possession  of  a  mob  of 
Dutcher's  men,  and  they  were  vowing  and 
swearing  that  no  man  should  do  a  stroke  of 
work  unless  their  whole  force  was  also  em- 
ployed, and  paid  at  the  rate  of  $3  each  per 
night  Such  was  the  emergency,  that  even  to 
delay  and  parley  was  to  sacrifice  the  town,  and 
the  agent  of  the  Cairo  City  Property  ordered 
one  and  all  to  go  to  work.  They  did  so,  and 
this  disastrous  mob  attack,  at  a  critical  mo- 
ment, when  it  could  not  be  resisted,  was  after 
all,  the  means  that  saved  the  city  and  kept  out 
the  waters.  The  strip  of  levee  between  the 
old  and  new  levee  was  the  weak  spot  in  the 
works,  and  so  rapidly  did  the  waters  come 
during  the  night,  that  on  this  place  the  men 
worked  for  hoiu's  in  water  over  twenty  inches 
in  depth.  To  understand  this,  it  is  neces- 
sary to  state  that  there  was  an  old  levee  out- 
side of  this,  and  that  when  the  water  broke 


over  the  outside  levee,  it  came  to  the  new  one 
in  a  swirl  or  circle,  so  that  the  tendency  of 
the  current  was  not  over  the  new  levee.  But 
so  great  was  the  emergency,  and,  thanks  to 
the  mob,  so  abundant  were  the  laborers,  that 
men  were  placed  upon  the  endangered  spot, 
and  actually  so  thickly  were  they  crowded, 
that  human  flesh  formed  an  embankment,  and 
kept  back  the  waters  until  dirt  was  placed 
there,  and  the  levee  made  high  and  stroug 
enough  to  stay  the  waters.  The  riotous  labor- 
ers lingered  about  the  town,  often  threatening 
the  men  at  work  on  the  levees  with  violence; 
openly  threatening  to  bui-n  and  destroy  the 
town,  and  they  were  several  times  caught  at- 
te'mpting  to  cut  the  levees  and,  let  in  the 
water.  The  regular  laborers  had  aruied,  as 
well  as  they  could  possibly,  with  pistols  and 
guns,  and  one  night  the  rioters  fired  a  num- 
ber of  pistol  shots  in  the  direction  of  the 
workmen,  and  it  is  most  fortunate  that  they 
did  not  hit  or  hurt  any  of  them,  for  the  rea- 
son that  the  laborers  had  their  instruction 
to  pay  no  attention  to  their  assailants  unless 
some  of  their  men  were  hurt,  and  in  that 
event  to  charge  upon  them  and  spare  not, 
but  kill  all  they  came  to.  Many  of  the  peo- 
ple in  the  town  took  sides  against  the  com- 
pany, and  tui-bulence  continued  to  spread  and 
intensify  and  grow,  and  finally  the  company 
telegraphed  to  St.  Louis  for  a  few  boxes  of 
muskets,  and  when  the  mob  saw  these  arrive, 
and  noticed  they  were  taken  to  the  com- 
pany's ofiice,  the  next  morning  the  roads,  the 
by-ways  and  the  brush,  even,  were  full  of 
Dutcher's  laborers,  with  their  .little  bundles 
on  their  shoulders,  getting  out  of  town  as 
fast  as  they  could.  Dutcher,  when  he  threw 
up  his  contract,  repaired  to  the  nearest  hills, 
up  the  line  of  the  railroad,  and  there  awaited 
news  of  the  drowning  or  burning  of  Cairo, 
and  vapored  and  blowed  his  wrath  at  the 
town,    threatening  to  sue  and   collect  many 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


1C7 


millions  of  dollars  damages   for   interfering 
with  bis  contract  work. 

There  are  many  other  circumstances  that 
go  to  establish  the  fact  that  Ashley  was  not 
only  disloyal  to  the  railroad  company  that 
employed  him,  but  that  he  was  willing  to 
sacrifice  not  only  Cairo,  but  the  best  inter- 
ests of  the  road  in  his  schemes  of  speculation 
and  selfishness.  So  plain  did  this  eventually 
become,  that  the  authorities  of  the  railroad 
became  aware  of  his  tricks,  and  they  per- 
emptorily and  curtly  dismissed  him  from 
their  service.  Instead  of  the  city  company 
being  sued  and  made  to  pay  immeasurable 
damages  for  employing  this  large  force  of 
men  to  work  at  night  and  save  the  city,  the 
agent,  Mr.  Taylor,  made  out  a  bill  against  the 
road  for  every  dollar  he  had  expended,  and 
the  I'oad  paid  it,  because  it  was  convinced 
that,  instead  of  interfering  with  Butcher's 
contract  work,  the  company,  by  their  agent, 
w^as  simply  doing  the  work  the  road  had 
bound  itself,  by  solemn  contract,  to  do. 

Strange  as  it  may  seem,  this  dastardly  at- 
tempt to  destroy  the  town,  and  probably  all 
in  it,  was  not  understood  at  the  time  by  the 
people;  in  fact,  many  so  completely  misun- 
derstood the  daring  moves  of  the  unholy  con- 
spirators, that  they  not  only  did  not  see  how 
they  and  theirs  had  been  saved,  but  they  took 
sides,  and  many  were  vehement  partisans  of 
Ashley  and  his  followers.  They  believed  that 
the  city  company  had  stood  about  the  town 
like  a  dog  in  the  manger,  and  refused  to  let 
the  railroad  build  the  levees;  and  when  the 
arrival  of  the  muskets  had  dispersed  the  riot- 
ous laborers,  and  di'iven  them  in  panic  away, 
there  were  citizens  left  to  take  up  their  quar- 
rel, and  threaten  the  city  company. 

Another  par  incident,  only  on  a  more  ex- 
tended scale,  was  when  the  United  States 
Marshal  came  down  from  Springfield  to  serve 
writs  upon  the  "  heads  of  the  town  " — lead- 


ing citizens,  as  it  were,  who,  like  pretty 
much  all  of  the  residents,  were  defiant  tres- 
passers upon  the  company's  property,  and 
the  few  leaders  of  whom  the  company  had 
commenced  '  proceedings  against  in  the 
United  States  Court.  When  the  Marshal  ar- 
rived, there  was  a  flutter  of  excitement,  and 
the  mutterings  of  the  threatened  storm  were 
all  around  the  sky.  But  the  Marshal  was 
quiet  and  gentlemanly;  in  truth,  he  seemed  to 
be  about  the  only  one  not  heated  with  great 
excitement.  He  waited  upon  the  parties  for 
whom  he  had  writs;  told  them  that  he  was 
going  up  the  river  for  two  days,  and  then  he 
would  return,  and  they  must  give  bail,  or 
he  would  be  compelled  to  perform  the  pain- 
ful duty  of  putting  them  in  jail.  That  night, 
a  meeting  of  the  people  was  called;  some 
brave,  short  speeches  were  made,  and  finally 
the  meeting  resolved  that  the  city  company 
had  no  right  nor  title  to  any  property  within 
the  city,  and  that  they  would  not  obey  the 
writs  of  the  United  States  Court.  Here  was 
insurrection  and  civil  war!  Oi',  as  it  turned 
out,  a  roaring  farce,  that  surpassed  the  Three 
Tailors  of  Bow  Street,  when  they  issued 
their  proclamation  to  an  astonished  world, 
and  announced  that  "  We,  the  People  of 
England,  etc." 

When  the  oflScer  returned,  and  the 
"  rebels  "  took  a  second  look  at  him,  they 
concluded  to  recognize  his  writs,  and,  under 
solemn  protests,  gave  bail  and  escaped  the 
bastile. 

The  embankments  constructed  by  the  Illi- 
nois Central  Railroad,  under  their  contract, 
did  not  prove  to  be  protective  embankments 
or  levees.  On  June  12,  1858,  they  gave  way, 
and  the  city  was  inundated;  this  inimdation 
was  the  result  solely  of  the  imperfect  con- 
struction of  the  embankment.  Logs  and 
stumps  had  been  put  in  the  levees,  and  this 
furnished    a  route  for   the  waters  until  the 


108 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


dirt  became  so  soft  and  giving,that  it  ceased 
to  be  an  obstruction  to  the  waters,  and  the 
flood  came.  This  destructive  overflow  led  to 
ithe  following  correspondence  between  the 
Illinois  Central  Railroad  Company  and  the 
Cairo  City  &  Canal  Company,  and  which 
furnishes  the  only  complete  explanation  of 
the  facts,  and  the  views  of  the  different  in- 
terested parties  at  the  time  that  we  can  now 
procure: 

July  13,  1858,  Charles  Davis,  Esq.,  one  of 
the  Trustees,  addressed  the  President  and 
Directors  of  the  Central  road,  substantially 
as  follows:  "  The  recent  inundation  of  Cairo 
has  particularly  directed  the  attention  of  the 
Trustees  of  the  Cairo  City  Property  to  their 
agreements  with  the  Illinois  Central  Rail- 
road Company,  relative  to  the  construction 
and  maintenance  of  levees  or  protective  em- 
bankments around  the  city  of  Cairo. 

"  At  the  time  of  making  those  agreements, 
the  Trustees  understood,  and  have  ever  since 
understood,  and  have  uniformly  and  repeated- 
ly been  advised  by  various  counsel,  that 
these  agreements  were,  on  the  part  of  your 
company,  not  only  a  legal  undertaking  to 
construct  levees  or  protective  embankments, 
to  the  extent  and  in  the  manner  prescribed  in 
said  agreements,  but  were  also  a  continuing 
and  perpetual  legal  undertaking  to  maintain 
the  same  after  they  had  been  constructed. 

"  The  Trustees  have  received,  both  from 
their  beneficiaries  and  from  purchasers  of  land 
at  Cairo,  very  many  expressions  of  regret  that 
the  levees  and  protective  embankments  have 
proved  insufficient  for  the  pui'pose  of  their  con- 
struction, and  very  many  statements  of  great 
actual  and  prospective  loss  and  damage  to 
such  beneficiaries  and  purchasers,  and  many 
inquiries  whether  the  Illinois  Central  Com- 
pany had  performed  their  agreements  before- 
mentioned.  Their  beneficiaries  have  com- 
municated to  the  Trustees  the  opinion  of  said 


beneficiaries,  that  the  duty  of  the  Trustees  to 
the  said  beneficiaries  required  them  to  de- 
mand, and  by  all  means  in  their  power  to  en- 
force, a  full  and  continual  performance  of 
said  agreements,  and  urgently  request  the 
Trustees  to  give  immediately,  and  in  the  fut- 
ure continue  to  give,  their  attention  to  this 
matter. 

"  Without  now  adverting  to  any  omissions 
in  the  past,  the  recent  inundation  has  done 
much  damage  to  the  levees  and  embankments, 
which,  under  said  agreements,  it  is  the  duty 
of  your  company  to  repair.  The  Trustees 
have  a  telegram  from  Mr.  S.  S.  Taylor, 
dated  at  Cairo,  6th  inst. ,  informing  them 
that  the  sewers  were  all  open,  and  a  portion 
of  the  city  dry,  so  that  work  on  the  levees 
and  embankments  could  be  resumed. 

"  The  Trustees  do  hereby,  in  conformity  to 
the  requests  of  their  beneficiaries,  and  in  as- 
sertion of  their  rights  under  said  agreements, 
request  the  President  and  Directors  of  the 
Illinois  Central  Railroad  Company  to  repair 
the  damage  which  has  been  done,  and  also  to 
perform  at  once  whatever  has  been  omitted 
that  is  required  to  be  performed,  under  said 
agreements  for  the  construction  and  main- 
tenance of  levees  and  protective  embank- 
ments around  the  city  of  Cairo. 

"When  the  Trustees  consider  the  importance 
of  the  performance  of  these  agreements  to  the 
compamy  itself,  but  much  more  "when  they 
consider  the  innumerable  and  the  very  heavy 
liabilities  to  which  the  company  is  needlessly 
exposed  by  every  omission  to  perform  agree- 
ments of  such  general  and  public  concern, 
the  Trustees  can  scarcely  believe  that  the 
President  and  Directors  of  the  company  will 
delay  unnecessarily,  or  even  voluntarily 
neglect  to  do  all  that  the  company  has  by 
said  agi'eements  undertaken."  ^ 

To  this,  under  date  15th   July,  185^,  Mr. 
Osborn,   the  President  of   the  Central  I'oad, 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


109 


replies,  acknowledging  the  receipt  of  the  let- 
ter, and  stating  "  it  is  the  intention  of  the 
company  to  repair  the  damage  occasioned 
by  the  late  freshet  to  the  works  at  Cairo,  as 
far  as  is  incumbent  upon  it  under  the  con- 
tracts with  your  company.  I  am  not  aware 
of  any  omission  in  the  performance  of  the 
contract,  and  do  not  understand  that  clause 
of  your  letter  which  requests  this  company 
to  perform  at  once  whatever  has  been  omit- 
ted that  is  required  to,  be  performed  under 
said  agreement  for  the  construction  and 
maintenance  of  levees  and  protective  em- 
bankments, etc." 

Under  date  22d,  the  same  month,  Mr.  Os- 
born  again  writes  to  Mr.  Davis,  and  among 
other  things  says :  "  I  am  desirous  to  meet 
the  views  and  wishes  of  your  shareholders, 
but  the  difficulty  is  the  ready  money.  Capt. 
McClellan^has  decided  to  accept,  if  not  al- 
ready done,  the  proposition  of  Mr.  Edwards, 
to  whom  the  price  of  the  unfinished  work  was 
referred,  payable,  $5,000  upon  the  1st  day 
of  September,  and  the  balance  (about  $(3,000) 
on  the  1st  day  of  December.  If  you  will  be 
good  enough  to  postpone  those  payments  un- 
til the  15th  of  January,  I  will  at  once  give 
directions  to  have  a  force  make  the  repairs 
to  the  levee  and  embankments  with  all  prac- 
ticable dispatch." 

On  the  same  day,  by  written  communica- 
tion, Mr.  Davis  accepted  the  terms  and  con- 
ditions proposed  by  Mr.  Osborn. 

Under  same  date,  S.  Staats  Taylor,  in  re- 
ply to  letter  of  inquiry  from  the  Trustee,  Mr. 
Davis,  writes:  "  I  would  state  that,  in  my 
opinion,  an  embankment  twenty  feet  wide  on 
the  top,  with  a  slope  on  each  side  of  one  foot 
perpendicular  to  five  (or  even  four)  feet 
horizontal,  would  be  sufficiently  strong  to 
resist  the  pressui'e  of  any  water  that  cjuld  be 
brought  against  it,  provided  it  was  properly 
constructed.     The   late  high  water  at   Cairo 


has  demonstrated  that  the  levees  are  not  hisrh 
enough,  and  to  make  them  safe  in  this  par- 
ticular they  should  be  at  least  two  feet  (if 
not  three  feet)  higher.  Where  the  levees 
were  up  to  grade,  the  water  in  the  Ohio  was 
within  (me  foot  seven  and  a  half  inches  of  the 
top  of  the  levees,  and  on  the  Mississippi  side 
it  was  still  higher,  bringing  it  within  a 
very  few   inches  of  the  grade. 

"  I  have  reason  to  believe  that  the  embank- 
ment at  the  place  where  it  bi'oke  was  ren- 
dered weak  and  insecm'e  by  logs  being  buried 
in  or  under  it,  and  a  considerable  portion  of 
the  new  protective  embankment,  both  on  the 
Mississippi  and  Ohio  Kivers,  was  con- 
structed without  the  natural  sm-face  being 
properly  prepared  by  grubbing  and  plowing, 
so  as  to  allow  the  artificial  embankment  to 
amalgamate  and  firmly  combine  with  the 
natural  ground.  From  a  neglect  to  do  this, 
the  water  during  the  late  high  water  perco- 
lated, and  found  a  passage  in  many  places  in 
considerable  quantities,  between  the  artificial 
embankment,  and  the  natural  gi'ound.  This 
neglect  to  properly  prepare  the  gi'ound  ex- 
isted at  the  time  of  building  the  new  levee 
on  the  Mississippi  last  winter,  and  the  ground 
was  not  only  not  grubbed  or  plowed,  but 
largiB  stumps  were  allowed  to  remain  in  that 
levee,  and  are  there  now,  notwithstanding  my 
notification  at  the  time  to  Capt.  McClelland 
that  they  were  so  allowed  to  remain  there. 
The  contractor  employed  by  the  railroad 
company  last  winter  was  detected  by  myself 
in  bmying  large  logs  in  that  embankment, 
not  merely  allowing  those  to  remain  that  had 
fallen,  when  the  embankment  was  to  be  con- 
structed, but  actually  rolling  others  in  from 
other  places.  When  detected,  those  that 
were  in  view  were  removed,  but  as  a  portion 
of  the  embankment  was  constructed  before 
his  practices   were  known,  the  probability  is 


no 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


that  others  are  yet  in  the  embankment,  de- 
tracting, of  course  from  its  strength  and 
security. " 

A  communication  from  'Mr.  S.  S.  Taylor, 
which  was  read  at  the  meeting  of  the  Trustees 
on  the  29th  September,  1858,  is,  to  some  ex- 
tent, a  semi-official  account  of  the  overflow 
of  the  town  in  1858,  and  as  such  deserves  to 
be  placed  upon  a  permanent  record.  It  is 
dated  Cairo,  September  6,  1858.  "  After  the 
last  meeting  of  the  stockholders,  in  Septem- 
ber, 1857,  our  city  continued  to  increase  in 
population,  and  improvements  continued  to 
be  made,  the  improvements,  owing  to  the 
financial  crisis,  being  fewer  in  number  than 
during  the  previous  spring  and  winter.  The 
increase  in  population  was,  nevertheless, 
gi-eater  than  at  any  previous  period,  every 
house  and  structure  capable  of  protecting 
population  from  the  elements  becoming  filled 
to  repletion.  This  increase  continued  dur- 
ing the  winter  and  spring,  so  that  at  the 
municipal  election  in  February  last,  in  which 
there  was  no  such  particular  interest  taken 
by  the  people  as  to  bring  out  a  full  vote, 
there  were  over  [four  hundred  votes  polled, 
and  at  the  same  time  it  was  known  that  there 
were  about  two  hundi-ed  and  fifty  residents 
who  did  not  vote,  some  by  reason  of  not 
being  entitled,  and  others  for  want  of  inter- 
est. 

"  It  was  thus  ascertained,  with  a  consider- 
able degree  of  accuracy,  that  at  the  time  of 
the  election  in  February  last,  we  had  at  least 
650  men  residents  here.  It  is  generally  con- 
ceded that  one  in  seven  of  a  population  is  a 
large  allowance  of  voters,  in  many  places  it 
not  being  more  than  one  in  ten.  But  giving 
us  the  largest  allowance,  and  that  may  be 
proper,  inasmuch  as  in  a  new  place  there  is 
always  a  preponderance  of  men,  this  calcula- 
tion will  afford  us  a  population  of  4,500, 
Shortly    after     this     time,    some    inconven- 


ience from  the  accumulation  of  water  within 
our  levees  began  to  be  felt.  This  accumula- 
tion arose  from  excessive  rains.  These  rains 
interfered  somewhat  with  the  filling  in  and 
grading  of  the  Ohio  levee,  and  in  the  early 
part  of  December  we  were  obliged  to  close 
our  sewers,  from  the  waters  in  the  rivers 
having  risen  to  a  level  with  their  outside 
mouths,  and,  with  the  exception  of  a  few 
days  in  the  early  spring,  they  remained 
closed  until  they  were  re-opened  after  the 
overflow. 

"  This  state  of  things  continued  until,  and 
was  in  existence  at,  the  time  the  breach  in 
our  levees  occm'red  on  the  12th  of  June  last. 

"As  you  are  aware,  this  breach,  whereby 
the  water  was  first  let  into  the  tovni,  oc- 
curred on  the  Mississippi,  at  the  point  where 
the  levee  on  that  river  leaves  the  river  bank, 
on  the  curve  toward  the  Ohio  River,  and 
about  half  a  mile  from  the  junction  of  the 
two  levees. 

"  At  this  point  where  the  crevasse  fii-st  oc- 
curred, the  levee  was  very  high,  the  filling 
of  earth  being  not  less  than  twelve  feet  high. 

"  In  the  neighborhood  of  the  crevasse,  the 
soil  appears  to  be  sandy,  and  an  undue  quan- 
tity of  that  kind  of  soil  may  have  entered 
into  the  composition  of  tlie  levee  at  that 
point.  An  inspection  of  the  crevasse  also 
shows  that  the  groimd  was  not  properly 
prepared  for  the  reception  of  the  embank- 
ment, it  not  having  been  properly  grubbed, 
as  appears  by  the  roots  and  stumps  still 
standing  in  it,  in  the  ground  where  the  em- 
bankment is  washed  off.  When  the  levee 
broke,  no  one  was  in  sight  of  it,  that  I  can 
ascertain.  Capt.  McClelland,  the  Vice  Presi- 
dent and  Chief  Engineer  of  the  Central  Eail- 
road  and  myself  had  passed  over  it  on  foot 
within  two  hours  before  it  occurred,  and  a 
watchman,  whose  duty  it  was  to  look  after  it, 
was  over  it  about  twenty  minutes  before,  but 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


Ill 


to  none  of  us  was  there  any  appearance  of 
weakness.  After  leaving  the  location  about 
twenty  minutes,  and  being  distant  less  than 
one- fourth  of  a  mile,  the  watchman  heard  the 
roaring  of  the  waters  running  through  the 
crevasse,  and  when  I  reached  it,  three- fourths 
of  an  hour  afterward,  the  water  was  running 
through  to  the  full  width  of  300  feet,  and  in 
an  unbroken  stream,  as  if  it  was  to  the  full 
depth  of  the  embankment.  The  probability 
is,  I  think,  that,  aided  by  the  stumps  and 
roots  in  the  embankment,  and  it  is  possible 
some  other  extraneous  substances,  the  water 
had  found  its  way  through  the  base  of  the 
embankment,  and  had  so  far  saturated  it  as 
to  destroy  its  cohesion  with  the  natural 
ground  below,  and  then  the  weight  of  the 
waters  on  the  outside  had  pushed  it  away. 

"  As  you  are  aware,  when  the  contracts  for 
building  the  different  divisions  of  gthe  Illinois 
Central  road  wei-e  originally  let,  in  June,  1852, 
that  for  the  construction  of  the  lower  cross- 
levee  and  the  levees  below  it,  on  both  the  Ohio 
and  Mississippi  Rivers,  was  included  in  the 
letting,  and  was  given  out  to  _Mr.  Richard 
Ellis.  Under  this  contract,  work  was  com- 
menced and  prosecuted  at  various  points,  on 
both  the  Ohio  and  Mississippi  Rivers,  from 
September  to  December,  1852,  when  the  con- 
tractor failed,  and  the  work  was  abandoned 
until  December,  1853,  except  on  that  pov- 
tion  along  the  Ohio  River  above  the  freight 
depot.  On  that  section  it  was  continued, 
with  a  view,  apparenth',  of  constructing  an 
embankment  for  the  accommodation  of  their 
railroad  track,  rather  than  for  the  purpose  of 
protecting  the  town  from  inundation,  the  em- 
bankment having  been  built  in  the  same 
manner  as  their  ordinary  railroad  embank- 
ments. The  instructions  given  by  their  en- 
gineer in  charge  of  their  work  at  the  time  it 
was  done  were  the  same  as  those  issued  in 
other  cases  for  the   construction  of  railroad 


embankments,  viz.,  that  while  the  filling 
was  over  four  feet,  the  stumps  were  not  to  be 
removed,  and  no  grubbing  done,  and  I  am 
told  by  the  engineer  in  charge  at  the  time 
the  work  was  done  that  these  instructions 
were  followed,  and  that  the  embankments 
along  the  Ohio  River,  above  the  freight  de- 
pot, was  thus  built  without  the  stumps  being 
removed  or  grubbing  done.  A  portion  of  this 
bank,  at  or  near  the  curve  on  the  Ohio  near 
the  junction  of  the  levee,  is  quite  narrow, 
and  after  our  late  experience  I  should  think 
it  was  far  from  being  secui'e. 

"  At  the  time  of  the  overflow,  a  very  large 
portion  of  our  population  were  obliged  to  go 
away,  from  inability  to  procure  accommoda- 
tions here.  Some,  who  had  two-stoi'ied 
houses,  remained  in  the  upper  story,  but 
most  were  obliged  to  desert  their  dwellings. 
The  population  thus  mostly  scattered  into 
the  neighboring  towns  and  country,  with  the 
exception  of  those  whoi^rocured  accommoda-' 
tion  on  the  wharf  and  flat-boats  and  barges 
at  the  levee.  A  large  portion  of  those  who 
thus  went  away  have  already  returned ;  others 
are  coming  back  daily,  and  if  employment  to 
justify  their  return  can  be  found,  I  am  sat- 
isfied the  great  bulk  of  our  population  will 
shortly  be  back  here  again.  I  think  our 
population  ia  at  least  three  thousand  now, 
if  not  more. 

"  Early  in  the  last  spring,  the  foundry 
buildings  took  fire,  and  were  entirely  con- 
sumed. The  ["establishment  was  just  begin- 
ning to  transact  a  very  successful  and  pro- 
fitable business. 

"  During  the  last  spring,  a  good  ferry  was 
established  between  Cairo  and  the  adjoining 
States  of  Missouri  and  Kentucky,  by  the 
Cairo  City  Feny  Company,  and  a  good  steam 
ferry-boat  fui*nished,  which  makes  regular 
trip?  between  those  States  and  Cairo,  bring- 
ing ti'ade  and  produce  to  it.      Before  the  de- 


112 


HISTORY  or  CAIRO. 


struction,  by  the  late  high  water,  of  the  prod- 
uce of  the  farms  alonor  the  rivers,  a  very 
perceptible  increase  in  the  business  of  the 
city  took  place  from  this  cause,  and  a  re- 
suscitation of  the  business  of  the  adjoining 
country  on  the  opposite  sides  of  the  river 
will,  by  the  aid  of  the  ferry,  be  attended  with 
a  corresponding  effect  here. 

"  Portions  of  the  roads  in  the  adjoining 
States  are  so  far  finished  that,  by  the  1st  of 
November,  we  shall  have  a  continuous  rail- 
road from  here  to  New  Orleans,  with  the  ex- 
ception of  the  river  travel  between  here  and 
Columbus  City,  sixteen  miles  from  here. 
This  road  is  now  finished,  with  the  exception 
of  two  gaps,  of  eighteen  and  six  miles  re- 
spectively, and  these  are  being  rapidly  filled. 
A  steam  ferry-boat  will  commence  running 
from  here  to  Coliimbus,  on  the  1st  of  the 
next  month,  in  connection  with  this  road, 
and  when  the  road  is  completed,  as  it  will  be 
by  November  1,  we  shall  be  within  two  days' 
travel  of  New  Orleans. 

"  The  first  section  of  the  Cairo  &  Fulton 
Eailroad,  in  Missouri,  is  now  pushed  for- 
ward with  energy,  and  that  portion  between 
Bird's  Landing,  opposite  here,  and  Charles- 
ton, a  village  about  fourteen  miles  from  the 
river  (Mississippi),  will  be  in  operation  by 
the  1st  of  December  next  Charleston  is  a 
thrivin  gvillage,  in  a  well-settled,  well-culti- 
vated and  flourishing  section  of  Missouri, 
and  our  connection  with  it  by  railroad  will 
tend  to  increase  considerably  the  business 
and  trade  of  our  town.  As  you  are  aware,  a 
road  was  cut  out  along  the  bank  of  the  Ohio 
Eiverto  Moimd  City  last  fall,  and  a  bridge  • 
across  Cache  River  was  commenced  then,  but 
has  been  delayed  since  by  the  high  water. 
The  construction  of  this  bi'idge  has  been 
since  re-coramenced,  and  the  contractor  in- 
forms me  that  it  will  be  ready  for  use  one 
week  from  next  Saturday.     This  will  give  us 


a  good  road  to  Mound  City,  and,  by  connec- 
tion with  roads  there,  will  give  us  free  com- 
munication with  the  country  and  villages  be- 
yond, and  thus  give  us  a  good  deal  of  trade 
from  those  quarters. 

"  In  consequence  of  the  great  destruction 
of  property  by  high  water  in  the  country 
about  us,  the  farmers  have  but  little  to  sell, 
and  this,  connected  with  the  general  depres- 
sion of  trade,  has  made  it  rather  dull  here; 
notwithstanding  which,  some  improvements 
are  still  going  on  in  our  city.  The  distillery 
which  was  commenced  last  spring  is  being 
pushed  to  completion,  and  will  be  ready  for 
operation  by  the  1st  of  next  month.  Two 
houses — one  a  dwelling,  twenty-five  by  forty, 
two  stories  high,  the  other  for  a  German 
tavern,  twenty-five  by  seventy-five,  and  three 
stories  high — both  commenced  before  the 
overflow,  are  in  process  of  completion.  Two 
others,  one  twenty-five  by  seventy  and  three 
stories  high,  have  been  contracted  for  and 
begun  since  the  overflow,  and  are  nearly 
finished;  and  one  other,  a  dwelling-house, 
contracted  for  since  the  overflow  but  not  yet 
begun. 

"  The  work  of  macadamizing  the  Ohio  levee, 
and  building  the  protecting  wall  at  the  base, 
has  so  far  advanced,  that  about  one  thousand 
feet  of  the  wall,  extending  from  the  lower 
side  of  Fourth  street  to  the  lower  side  of 
Eighth  street,  has  been  completed,  and  for 
about  six  hundred  feet  in  length  additional, 
the  broken  rock  is  placed  for  about  one 
hundi-ed  and  twenty -five  feet  from  the  toj)  of 
the  levee.  The  gi-ading  of  the  levee  with 
earth,  within  the  same  limits,  has  also  been 
prosecuted,  as  the  waters  in  the  rivers  would 
permit.  A  few  weeks  of  favorable  weather 
and  a  favorable  stage  of  water  would  enable 
us  to  complete  the  whole  of  the  grading  and 
macadamizing  of  the  whole  of  the  1,000  feet 
above  the  passenger  depot. 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


113 


"  Most  of  tliis  rock  work  was  done  pre- 
viously to  January  1,  1858,  when  the  com- 
munication with  the  quarries  was  interrupted 
by  ice  in  the  INHssissippi;  after  this  difficulty 
was  removed,  the  water  was  so  high  as  to 
cover  the  quarries,  and  has  continued  so  un- 
til the  last  week,  with  a  brief  interval,  dur- 
ing which  we  were  enabled  to  get  down  two 
barge  loads  of  stone,  and  last  week  the  water 
had  so  far  receded  at  the  quarry  as  enabled 
us  to  make  regular  trips  with  the  steamb  )at 
and  barges.  During  the  spring  and  summer, 
the  water  has  been  too  high,  most  of  the 
time,  to  admit  of  much  work  on  the  filling 
and  grading  of  the  Ohio  levee,  between  the 
depots,  according  to  our  arrangements  with 
the  railroad  company,  to  complete  for  them  the 
unfinished  work.  But  at  intervals,  we  were 
enabled  to  do  something,  and  worked  moder 
ately,  as  the  weather  and  water  would  per- 
mit, until, within  the  last  four  weeks,  when 
we  have  pushed  the  work   vigorously. 

"  The  bank  building  belonging  to  Gov. 
Matteson  has  been  [completed  for  several 
weeks,  but  there  do  not  appear  to  be  any  in- 
dications of  an  early  opening  of  the  establish- 
ment, although  I  am  told  the  note-plates 
have  all  been  prepared,  the  officers  engaged 
and  all  other  arrangements  completed  months 
ago  for  the  opening.  This  delay  is  to  be  I'e- 
gretted,  especially  as,  if  the  ground  had  not 
been  occupied  by. Gov.  Matteson,  or  rather  if 
his  declared  intention  had  not  gone  abroad 
through  the  whole  country  round  about,  a 
good  bank  would  have  been  established  here 
last  fall,  by  Mr.  E.  Norton,  one  of  our  old 
citizens,  in  connection  with  his  brother,  the 
Cashier  of  the  Southern  Bank  of  Kentucky, 
established  at  Russellville,  Ky. 

"  In  conclusion,  it  is  very  evident  that 
had  the  Illinois  Central  Railroad  constructed 
the  levees,  as  they  should  be  constructed,  and 
not  have  substituted  for    them  the    common 


railroad  embankments,  that  this  interruption 
to  the  onward  pi-ogress  of  Cairo  would  not 
have  taken  place. " 

Some  robust  correspondence  was  inaugu- 
rated by  the  Cairo  property  owners  of 
Springfield,  111.,  after  the  overflow  of  June, 
1858,  and  as  they  discuss  some  questions 
that  have  been  mooted  by  our  people  at  vari- 
ous times,  we  give  extended  extracts  from 
both  sides  of  the  discussion. 

On  the  17th  June.  1858,  J.  A.  Matteson, 
Johnson  &  Bradford,  R.  F.  Ruth,  John  E. 
Ousley,  W.  D.  Chenery,  H.  Walker,  T.  S. 
Mather  and  fifteen  others  of  the  leading 
citizens  of  Springfield, addi-essed  a  joint- letter 
to  S.  Staats  Taylor,  "  Resident  Agent,"  from 
which  letter  we  extract  such  sentences  as 
these  :  "  We  are  apprised  most  fully  of  the 
great  calamity  which  has  befallen  Cairo. 
Had  we  supposed  such  ruin  possible,  we 
could  never  have  been  induced  to  expend  the 
large  amounts  of  money  which  we  have,  nor 
could  we  have  used  our  influence  as  an  in- 
ducement for  others  to  do  so. 

"  The  large  sum  of  $318,000  has  been  ex- 
pended by  ourselves,  and  others  of  Spring- 
field, in  the  purchase  of  property  and  its 
impi'overnent  at  Cairo;  and  the  people  of 
Springfield  themselves,  under  the  strong  as- 
surances made  to  them  by  the  Cairo  City 
Company,  have  invested,  and  induced  others 
to  invest,  no  less  than  from  S150,000  to 
8200,000  in  buildings  alone. 

"  By  this  calamity,  which  might  have  been 
prevented  if  the  compauy  had  thrown  around 
the  city  such  complete  protection  as  they 
were  bound  by  interest  and  by  legal  con- 
tract with  purchasers,  to  do,  this  property 
has  been  rendered  comparatively  valueless. 
Nothing  but  prompt  action  and  judicious 
plans,  on  your  part,  can  save  your  city  and 
yoiu"  property  alike,  with  that  of  others,  from 
utter  ruin,  or  at   least    from  such  a  set-back 


114 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


as  will  require  the  work  of  years  to  regain. 
"  Already  is  the  sentiment  fast  gaining 
ground  upon  the  public  mind  that  Cairo  is 
hopelessly  ruined.  This  sentiment  must  be 
at  once  met,  and   contradicted    at   whatever 

cost. 

*         ii^         *         *         *         *         * 

"  We  feel  that  the  company  are  both  legal- 
ly and  vioralhj  hound  to  fully  restore  those 
who  have  sustained  the  damage  to  their 
former  position  before  the  flood.  Independ- 
ent of  their  legal  obligations,  we  deem  it  to 
be  the  highest  interest  of  the  company  to 
institute  thp  most  prompt  and  vigorous 
measures,  not  only  to  restore  to  those  who 
have  suffered  loss,  but  to  so  act  as  to  satisfy 
the  public  mind  at  once  that  the  company 
themselves  are  not  disheartened,  but  that  they 
are  ready,  promptly,  to  do  justice  to  every  one 
who  has  sustained  damage  by  the  overflow  of 
water.  *  *  *  *  In  our  judgment,  the 
company  should  seek  to  inspire  all  those  who 
had  made  Cairo  their  home,  and  who  had 
made  improvements  there,  however  trivial 
in  amount,  that  they  will  be  immediately 
aided  and  fully  restored  to  their  property. 
This  would  establish  confidence  against 
which  no  tide  could  successfully  flow.  But 
this  must  be  done  promptly;  tnust  he  done  at 
once.  The  people  who  have  settled  there 
should  not  be  suffered  to  scatter,  if  possihle 
to  prevent  it.  They  should  be  aided  and  en- 
couraged at  once  with  the  idea  that  the 
storm  is  over,  and  the  floods  are  past  ;  they 
shall  be  made  good  again,  and  their  future 
secured  beyond  a  contingency, 

"  Many  of  the  subscribers  to  this  letter 
own  stock  in  the  Cairo  Hotel  Company,  and 
we  think  that,  as  soon  as  the  waters  subside, 
you  ought  to  rebuild  the  fallen  building,  at 
least  to  a  point  to  where  the  company  had 
carried  it  before  the  levee  gave  way.     *     * 

"  Public   sympathy   might   now  be   relied 


upon  to  a  large  extent.  Cairo,  though  worse 
afflicted,  has  been  overtaken  by  a  calamity 
which  has  befallen  almost  every  city  and 
town  in  the  Mississippi  Valley  to  a  greater 
or  less  extent.  This  superior  affliction  may, 
by  timely  action,  be  made  to  bear  rather 
favorably  than  otherwise;  and  the  waiers  of 
public  opinion,  which  now  inundate  the  pros- 
pects of  Cairo,  may  be  made  to  subside  as 
rapidly  as  those  of  the  Mississippi  will  retire 
now  that  the  storms  are  past." 

The  object  of  this  carefully  constructed 
letter,  signed  by  so  many  of  the  leading  men 
of  Springfield,  was  to  get  money  from  the 
company  to  compensate  them  for  damages 
sustained. 

The  company,  however,  in  substance,  an- 
swers as  follows: 

"1.  There  was  no  such  contract  ever  made. 
Honest  opinions  and  conscientious  repi-esent- 
atious  were  made,  of  which  the  parties  pur- 
chasing were  always  able  to  judge,  having 
the  city  of  Cairo  with  all  its  defenses  before 
them,  and  all  the  agreements  with  the  Illinois 
Central  Railroad  Company  lying  open  for 
their  inspection. 

"  2.  Ample  confirmation  is  found  here,  as 
» to  the  mischievous  character  of  the  news- 
paper reports  complained  of. 

"3.  All  that  is  recommended  and  more 
will  be  done.  See  the  resolutions  adopted  at 
the  meeting  of  September  29,  1858. 

"  4.  The  gentlemen  whose  names  are  af- 
fixed to  this  letter  will  find  their  leading  views 
corroborated  by  the  proceedings  referred  to 
above,  though  the  facts  relied  upon,  the 
points  urged  and  the  legal  questions  in- 
volved, are  very  differently  understood  by  the 
Trustees  and  their  Counsel. 

"  5.  The  population  have  not  been  suffered 
to  scatter,  as  will  be  seen  by  the  report  of 
the  General  Agent,  and  the  most  liberal 
course  of  action  has  been  recommended  by  the 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


117 


Executive     Committee,     and    authorized   by 
Si/XK'i  votes:' 

Other,  and,  if  possible,  stronger  letters, 
were  written  the  company  by  N.  W.  Edwards 
and  also  by  "William  Butler.  President  of  the 
Cairo  City  Hotel  Company.  Then.  July  S, 
iSaS,  Mr.  William  Butler,  President,  and 
James  C.  Conklin,  Secretary,  addiessed  a 
joint-letter  to  S.  S.  Taylor,  and  in  it  they 
say:  "  We  notice  the  stockholders  of  Cairo 
City  are  requested  to  meet  at  Philadelphia 
on  the  15th  inst.  We  presume  one  of  their 
objects  is  to  take  into  consideration  the 
course  of  action  to  be  adopted  by  them  con- 
cerning the  damages  which  resulted  from  the 
recent  flood.  In  behalf  of  the  Cairo  Hotel 
Company,  we  desire  they  should  not  only 
consider  the  communication  heretofore  trans- 
mitted by  us  to  you,  which  was.  general  in  its 
character,  and  had  reference,  more  partcular- 
ly,  to  what  might  be  deemed  politic  on  the 
part  of  the  Cairo  City  Company,  but  we  wish 
to  propose  now,  more  distinctly  for  their  con- 
sideration, the  position  of  the  Cairo  City 
Hotel  Company. 

"  In  the  publications  made  by  the  Cairo 
City  Company,  under  date  of  January  1 5, 
1S55,  and  in  their  pamphlet  issued  in  1S56, 
various  inducements  were  held  out  to  capi- 
talists to  invest  at  Cairo  City :  and  the  strong- 
est language  was  used  in  regard  to  the  sta- 
bility and  permanency  of  its  levees.  It  was 
said  that  they  would  afford  a  complete  pro- 
tection from  overflow  at  any  stage  of  water, 
however  high:  that  the  expense  of  the  levees 
was  provided  for  by  the  Trustees  of  the  City 
Property;  that  it  would  entirely  encompass 
the  city,  and  was  to  be  eighty  feet  wide  on 
the  top.  and  that  an  inundation  was  an 
impossibility,  and  that  human  ingenuity 
had  successfully  opposed  a  barrier,  even  to 
the  chance  of  an  overflow,  and  that  gigantic 
works  had  marked  the   Rubicon  which  even 


the   mighty-     Father   of    Waters   could   not 
overstep. 

These  works,  it  was  represented,  had 
been  commenced,  and  progress  had  been 
made  in  their  construction,  '  for  tho  interests 
of  property  holders."     *     *     *     * 

These  representations  were  published  to 
the  world,  and  extraordinary  efforts  were 
made  to  impress  the  minds  of  the  community 
that  Cairo  was  beyond  the  reach  of  any  con- 
tingency arising  from  floods,  uiltil  the  con- 
viction was  well-established,  and  it  was  gen- 
erally believed  that  the  Cairo  City  Company 
had  effectually  provided  against  any  danger 
that  might  be  apprehended  from  this  source. 

The  events  of  the  last  few  weeks,  however, 
abundantly  testify  that  said  embankments 
were  not  seciu*e,  that  the  company  had  not 
fully  pretected  the  interests  of  property  hold- 
ers in  said  city,  etc.,  etc.     *     *     *     « 

In  consideration  of  the  premises,  the  un- 
designed, in  behalf  of  the  hotel  company, 
would  respectfully  represent  to  the  stock- 
holders of  Cairo  City,  that  said  stockholders 
ought  to  assume  the  responsibility  of  said 
loss  and  damage,  that  this  is  the  just  and 
reasonable  view  of  the  case,  and  that  the 
claim  of  the  hotel  company  is  not  only 
founded  upon  sound  reason  and  good  faith, 
but  that,  by  the  established  rules  of  law.  the 
Cairo  City  Company  and  their  Trustees  are 
bound  to  indemnify  the  hotel  company  for 
all  the  losses  sustained  by  reason  of  the  in- 
sufficiency of  the  levee  to  protect  the  city. 

To  this  the  Board  of  Directors  and  the 
Trustees  answer  substantially  as  follows,  in 
addition  to  previous  answers  to  similar  com- 
munications from  pai'ties  in  Springtield: 

1.  All  the  promises  were  prospective,  and 
founded  upon  a  justifiable  belief. 

2.  And  this,  their  belief,  was  founded 
upon  all  past  experience,  upon  careful  sur- 
veys, many  times  repeated  by  eminent  engi- 

7 


118 


HISTOHY  OF  CAIRO. 


neers,  and  upon  the  testimotiy  of  unimpeach- 
able witnesses.  Their  expectations  were 
well-founded,  and  not  unreasonable,  as  the 
adverse  parties  knetv,  and  acknowledged  by 
their  acts,  for  they  were  able  to  judge  for 
themselves,  and  asked  for  no  other  deed  than 
that  which  had  always  been  given.  And 
what,  after  all,  do  the  Trustees  promise  in 
the  publication  cited?  Only  that  certain 
things  "would  be  done"  thereafter;  and 
that^  when  done,  there  would  be  no  possible 
danger  from  overflow.  And  they  say  the 
same  thing  now.  They  expected  the  levee  to 
be  completed  by  the  Illinios  Central  Rail- 
road, as  promised  and  paid  for ;  and  they 
tried,  in  every  way,  to  have  it  done,  short 
of  bi'inging  them  into  a  court  of  law,  while 
under  ovei*whelming  embaiTassment;  and  if 
they  had  fulfilled  their  undertaking,  it  is 
clear,  beyond  all  question,  as  tl^e  foregoing 
documents  prove,  that  Cairo  would  not  have 
been  flooded  in  June  last,  notwithstanding 
the  unexampled  rise  of  both  rivers.      *     * 

4.  Under  all  the  circumstances,  the  fault 
being  that  of  the  Illinois  Central  Railroad, 
and  not  of  the  Cairo  City  Property  or  their 
Trustees,  would  this  be  a  just  or  reasonable 
expectation?  etc.,  etc. 

The  shareholders  of  the  Cairo  City  Prop- 
erty, as  per  call  noticed  above,  met  in  Phila- 
delphia on  the  15th  of  July,  1858,  and, 
among  other  proceedings,  passed  the  follow- 
ing resolution: 

"  Resolved,  That  the  Executive  Committee 
be  requested  to  confer  with  the  President  and 
Directors  of  the  Illinois  Central  Railroad 
Company,  to  ascertain  if  some  arrangement 
cannot  be  made  to  repair  the  damage  to 
Cairo,  and  if  that  cannot  be  accomplished, 
then  to  request  the  Trustees  of  Cairo  City 
Property  to  authorize  the  agent,  S.  Staats 
Taylor,  to  cause  the  proper  repairs  to  be 
made,    and   to    institute    legal    proceedings 


against  the  railroad  company  for  the  amount 
expended,  and  for  all  damages  sustained  by 
the  overflow  caused  by  the  neglect  of  the  said 
railroad  company. 

The  shai'eholders  had  appointed  an  Execu- 
tive Committee,  to  consider  matters  in  refer- 
ence to  the  inundation  of  Cairo.  This  com- 
mittee held  a  meeting  in  New  York,  and  in 
their  report  they  say:  "  Believing  that  they 
could  not  properly  and  thoroughly  discharge 
their  duty,  under  the  resolutions  referred  to, 
without  a  personal  examination  of  Cairo,  and 
the  General  Agent,  Mr.  S.  S.  Taylor,  being 
of  opinion  that  a  visit  by  the  whole  Execu- 
tive Committee,  or  by  a  sub-committee  of  this 
board,  would  greatly  encourage  the  people 
of  Cairo,  tned  to  allay  their  apprehensions, 
and  check,  if  it  did  not  put  a  stop  at  once 
and  forever,  to  the  mischievous  falsehoods 
and  gross  exaggerations  which,  under  a  show 
of  authority,  and  as  admissions  made  by  par- 
ties deeply  interested  in  the  reputation  and 
welfare  of  Cairo,  were  gradually  taking  pos- 
session of  the  public  mind,  both  at  home  and 
abroad,  your  committee  delegated  Mr.  Bald- 
win, of  Syracuse,  and  Mr.  Neal,  of  Maine, 
to  visit  Cairo,  and  make  such  personal  inves- 
tigation upon  the  ground  as  would  enable 
them  to  report  understandingly  upon  the 
present  condition  and  wants  of  the  city. 
*  *  *  And  to  take  such  immediate  meas- 
ures as  might,  in  their  judgment,  be  needed 
for  the  safety  of  the  city,  before  the  whole 
board  could  be  brought  together. " 

When  this  sub-committee  arrived  in  Cairo, 
they  looked  carefully  over  the  gi'ounds,  and 
on  the  6th  of  August,  1858,  a  public  meeting 
of  the  inhabitants  of  Cairo  was  called,  with 
a  view  to  a  full  understanding  of  all  ques- 
tions at  issue;  and  of  this  meeting  the  com- 
mittee said  in  their  report: 

"  The  meeting  was  large,  for  the  popula- 
tion, and    very   quiet,  and    the   addresses  of 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


119 


your  sub- committee,  together  with  explana- 
tions and  assurances,  in  behalf  of  the  share- 
holders and  proprietors,  were  well  received. 
It  was  stated  that  shareholders,  to  the 
amount  of  nearly  two  millions  and  a  half, 
at  the  par  value  of  the  stock,  were  assembled 
at  Philadelphia,  on  the  15th  of  July,  where 
they  chose  an  Executive  Committee  of  six, 
who  afterward  chose  from  their  number  two, 
as  a  sub- committee  to  visit  Cairo  in  person, 
look  into  the  condition  of  the  city  and  the 
wants  of  the  people,  and  report  at  the  next 
yearly  meeting,  on  the  29th  of  September. 

"  The  people  of  Cairo  were  encouraged  to 
believe  that,  if  they  were  faithful  to  them- 
selves, the  Tnistees,  and  shareholders  and 
proprietors  were  determined  to  pursue  a 
liberal  course  of  action,  and  they  might  con- 
sider the  C.  C.  P.  pledged  to  the  full  amount 
of  all  their  interests  in  Cairo  to  carry  out 
whatever  they  believed  to  be  for  the  advan- 
tage of  all  parties;  and  the  meeting  ended  at 
last  with  mutual  congratulations  and  assur- 
ances that  Cairo  should  not  be  left  to  the 
guardianship  of  treacherous  friends  or  un- 
principled foes;  but  to  the  watchful  care  of 
those  who  had  something  at  stake  in  her  rep- 
utation and  welfare. " 

The  sharp  bend  in  the  Mississippi  River, 
just  belc  w  the  north  line  of  the  city,  throws 
the  water  almost  straight  across  to  the  Illinois 
shore,  and  the  abrasion  of  this  shore  threat 
ened  to  cut  its  way,  eventually,  entirely  across 
to  the  Ohio  River,  unless  in  some  way  con- 
trolled. Between  the  years  1875  and  1880 
the  General  Government  expended  on  the 
protective  works  on  the  Mississippi,  opposite 
this  city,  the  sum  of  $113,351.43.  This  work 
extends  along  the  face  of  the  river  bank,  from  a 
point  below  where  the  Mississippi  River  levee 
runs  away  from  the  river  bank  at  least  three- 
quarters  of  a  mile,  to  a  point  up  the  river  at 
least  two  miles  above  the  upper  limits  of  the 


city.  When  the  water  is  at  a  low  stage  in 
the  Mississippi,  the  current  thrown,  as  stated, 
against  the  Illinois  shore,  begins  to  under- 
mine the  banks,  which  are  nearly  always 
perpendicular  and  composed  mostly  of  de- 
posits made  by  the  silt-bearing  water  of  the 
river  in  flood  times.  This  undermining  proc- 
ess goes  on  at  the  surface  of  the  water,  un- 
til the  superincumbent  mass  of  the  bank  falls 
into  the  river,  and  is  carried  away  by  tho 
stream.  Then  the  undermining  process 
commences  again,  and  proceeds  to  precisely 
similar  results.  In  this  way,  at  this  point, 
the  river  has  heretofore  undermined  the 
banks  of  the  Mississippi  River,  dropping 
them  slowly  into  the  stream,  and  iinally 
digging  under  portions  of  the  levees  and 
carrying  them  away  into  the  river.  Here  has 
been  one  of  the  severest  problems  in  the  mat- 
ter of  protecting  the  city  from  the  waters, 
this  erosive -action  in  low  water  goino-  on  re- 
gardless of  any  possible  heights  of  levees 
placed  upon  the  shores.  This  abrasion  of  the 
shore  has  necessitated  the  building  of  a  new 
levee  on  the  Mississippi  side,  about  a  mile  in 
length,  which  is  of  an  average  of  twelve  feet 
high,  measuring  from  the  surface  on  which 
it  is  constructed;  is  twelve  feet  wide  on  the 
top,  with  a  slope  on  its  outside  of  one  foot 
perpendicular  to  live  feet  horizontal,  and  on 
its  inside  of  one  foot  to  two  and  a  half  feet, 
making  an  average  width  of  fifty  feet;  and 
its  top  is  fifty-four  feet  above  low  water 
mark.  The  average  height  of  the  other 
portions  of  the  levee,  standing  on  the  bank 
of  the  Mississippi  River,  from  its  junction 
with  the  new  levee  on  the  bank  of  the  Ohio 
River,  is  one  foot  and  three  inches  above 
the  high  water  mark.  This  is  measuring 
only  to  and  not  including  the  ties  of  the 
Cairo  &  St.  Louis  Railroad  track.  The 
Cairo  &  St.  Louis  Railroad  has  the  right  of 
way  along  its  top,  from  the  Ohio  River  to  a 


120 


HISTOKY  OF  CAIRO. 


point  beyond  and  outside  of  where  the  new 
levee  makes  a  junction  with  the  levee  owned 
by  the  Trustees.  Where  this  right  of  way 
exists,  the  railroad  company  is  obliged,  by 
reservations  and  penalties  in  its  deed,  to 
maintain  the  levee  at  its  original  height,  of 
fifty- three  feet  and  three  inches,  and  to  its 
original  width  on  top  of  sixteen  feet. 

There  has  been  much  work  done,  by  the 
"United  States  Government  and  by  the  Trust- 
ees of  the  city  company,  in  protecting  from 
the  erosive  action  of  the  current  the  Missis- 
sippi River  bank.  The  manner  of  doing  this 
was  to  place  large  mattresses,  made  of  wil- 
lows and  tree  branches;  these  were  loaded 
with  rock,  and  sunk  to  the  bottom,  at  the 
bank  where  the  current  was  cutting  un- 
der the  superstructure,  and  upon  this  mat- 
tress was  then  sunk  another  one,  and  another 
one  on  top  of  that,  until  a  stone  wall  was 
formed  for  the  waters  to  beat  against,  extend- 
ing from  the  bottom  of  the  river  to  above 
the  surface  of  the  water.  There  were  about 
two  miles  and  a  half  of  these  stone-anchored 
mattress  walls  conslructed,  extending  north 
from  a  point  nearly  opposite  [the  lower  end 
of  the  new  levee.  On  the  top  of  these  mat- 
tress-walls, medium  sized  stone  were  placed 
against  the  bank,  to  nearly  the  top  thereof, 
thus  facing  the  river  bank  with  a  stone  re- 
vetment. Previous  to  this  work  being  done 
by  the  Government,  the  city  company  had 
some  years  ago  revetted  nearly  three-quarters 
of  a  mile  in  length.  So  there  is  now  standing, 
against  the  face  of  the  bank  of  the  Missis- 
sippi, and  extending  from  a  point  below 
where  the  levee  runs  away  from  the  river,  up 
the  river  about  three  and  a  half  miles,  to  a 
point  about  two  miles  above  the  upper  limits 
of  the  city,  the  revetments  extending  from 
the  bottom  of  the  river,  and  up  along  the 
face  of  the  shore  from  fifty  to  sixty  feet. 
There  has  been  here  expended  $196,806.49, 


of  which  $113,351.43  was  by  the  General 
Government. 

July  18,  1872,  after  the  Trustees  had  spent 
large  amounts  of  money  in  widening,  raising 
and  strengthening  the  levees,  and  had 
brought  suit  for  $250,000  against  the  Central 
road  for  money  thus  expended,  which  suit 
was  eventually  compromised  and  397  acres  of 
the  497  acres  were  re-conveyed  by  the  rail- 
road to  the  city  company,  and  the  payment 
of  $80,000  in  money,  and  the  release  to  the 
Cairo  City  Property  all  its  original  rights  to 
the  collection  of  wharfage,  etc.  And  the 
railroad  was  released  from  all  obligations  in 
reference  to  maintaining  and  repairing  the 
levees,  except  that  portion  actually  occupied 
and  used  by  them. 

In  1878,  in  consideration  of  the  vacation  of 
Levee  street,  above  Eighteenth,  by  the  city, 
and  the  granting  of  privileges  upon  the 
same  to  the  Illinois  Central  road,  the  road 
deeded  the  100- foot  strip,  running  from 
Thirty-fourth  street  to  the  point,  and  parallel 
with  the  Ohio  levee  to  the  city. 

The  City  Council  recently  ordered  the 
Ohio  levee  to  be  raised,  commencing  with  a 
raise  of  two  feet  at  or  near  the  stone  depot, 
grading  to  the  present  height  at  Second 
street,  and  with  this  increase  of  the  height  of 
this  levee,  the  entire  levees  of  the  city  will 
be  above  the  highest  water  mark  ever  known. 
The  Hon.  D.  T.  Linegar,  the  present  mem- 
ber of  the  Illinois  Legislature,  has  secured 
the  passage  of  two  bills,  that  are  now  attract- 
ing the  attention  of  the  people  of  Cairo. 
The  titles  of  the  bills  indicate  largely  the 
purpose  of  the  same — the  Levee  Bill  and  the 
High  Grade  Bill.  The  fundamental  idea  of 
the  two  evidently  is  to  enable  the  city  to  raise 
the  levees  and  the  lots  within  the  city  limits 
to  any  height  or  grade  they  may  wish.  We 
are  informed  that  the  levee  bill  authorizes 
the   city    authorities,    whenever   they   shall 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


121 


deem  it  necessary  for  the  protection  of  the 
city,  to  order  the  owners  of  any  part  of  the 
levee  to  raise  and  strengthen  the  same,  in 
such  manner  as  the  city  may  think  best,  and 
iipon  a  failm*e  to  comply  with  this  order,  the 
city  may  proceed  and  do  the  work,  and  sell 
the  property  and  pay  its  bill,  and  nearly  a 
similar  authority  is  given  as  to  all  lots, 
whether  they  belong  to  public  institutions  or 
are  private  property. 

The  remarkably  high  waters  of  1SS2  and 
1883  go  to  show  that  probably  from  one  foot  to 
eighteen  inches  should  be  added  to  the 
levees  around  the  city,  and,  as  soon  as  possi- 
ble, revetments  extending  entirely  around  and 
against  the  embankments  of  both  rivers,  and 
thus  made  strong  and  permanent,  and  Cairo 
need  never  fear  or  di-ead  any  high  water  that 
can  ever  come  against  its  bulwarks. 

The  city  has  triumphantly  passed  through 
the  flood  crisis  of  the  two  years  of  1882-83, 
that  poured  oiit  the  greatest  floods  of  water 
ever  witnessed  in  the  rivers  at  this  point; 
and  it  is  now  a  remarkable  historical  fact 
that  the  only  town  from  the  source  of  the 
Ohio  River  to  the  mouth  of  the  Mississippi 
River,  that  passed  unscathed  and  unharmed 
by  the  floods,  was  Cairo.  The  rivers,  north 
and  south  of  here,  bore  devastation  upon 
their  raging  bosoms.  Pittsburgh,  Cincin- 
nati, Louisville,  New  Albany,  Lawi*encebui-g, 
Shawneetown  and  many  other  places  have 
suffered  immeasurably  from  the  high  waters 
of  the  past  two  years.  Often,  the  floods  in 
the  Mississippi  have  so  crippled  and  confined 
the  business  of  St.  Louis,  that  at  intervals  it 
was  prostrated.  But  Cairo,  so  widely  be- 
lieved by  many  to  be  the  worst  water- afflicted 
city  in  the  United  States,  has  experienced 
none  of  the  troubles  of  the  other  river  towDS. 
The  past  two  years,  the  early  spring  freshets 
have  driven  thousands  from  their  homes  in 


Cincinnati,  Louisville,  Shawneetown  and 
other  places;  business  houses  were  flooded 
and  washed  away;  and  manufacturing  estab- 
lishments were  compelled  to  "shutdown;" 
railroad  communication  with  them  was  de- 
stroyed, and  "  the  widespread  distress  filled 
the  land  with  its  wail,  and  the  charity  of  the 
nation  was  appealed  to  for  aid  for  the  flood 
sufferers.  With  a  flood-line  marking  a  height 
never  before  attained  by  any  of  the  floods  of 
the  past,  the  citizens  of  Cairo,  while  taking 
all  precautions  to  keep  the  great  levees  which 
surround  her  intact,  have  transacted  their 
business,  but  little  disturbed  by  the  threaten- 
ing Avatei's.  Not  a  mill  nor  a  manufacturing 
establishment  of  any  kind  has  been  "  shut 
down"  for  a  moment  on  account  of  the 
tloods,  and  the  Illinois  Central  Railroad, 
which  makes  connection  here  with  its  south- 
ern division  by  a  "  transfer  steamboat  "  for 
New  Orleans,  has  never  missed  a  train,  or 
been  compelled  to  abandon  any  of  its  track 
for  a  single  hour.  No  cry  of  disti-ess  has 
ever  gone  out  to  the  country  from  the  j^eople 
of  Cairo,  but  when  the  last  waters  were  high- 
est, and  the  croakers  against  Cairo  were 
loudest,  a  public  meeting  of  the  people  re- 
sponded to  theory  for  helj)  from  their  neigh- 
bors at  Shawneetown  by  a  cash  subscription 
of  $1,000.  The  truth  is- -established  by  the 
severest  test  ever  known — that  Cairo,  the 
much  maligned  and  slandered  Cairo,  is,  in 
any  flood  that  may  or  can  come  down  the 
rivers,  the  city  of  refuge — the  place  of  safety, 
and  the  only  reliable  one,  from  St.  Louis  or 
Pittsburgh  to  New  Orleans. 

On  the  26th  of  February,  1882,  the  flood- 
line  at  Cairo  was  fifty -one  feet  ten  and  a  half 
inches  above  low  water  mark.  On  the  26th 
of  February,  1883,  exactly  one  year  to  a  day, 
the  flood-line  at  Cairo  was  fifty-two  feet  two 
inches  above  low  water  mark     In  these  two 


122 


HISTOKY  OF  CAIRO. 


unprecedented  stages  of  water,  as  before  re- 
marked, Cairo  was  the  only  river  town  that 
passed  unharmed. 

People  wonder,  and  muse,  and  talji  much 
about  these  two  years,  and  their  great  waters, 
and  the  conclusion  is  a  common  one,  that  it 
is  the  general  system  of  draining  in  ^11  the 
coTintiT  north  of  this,  both  open  and  tile 
draining,  the  cutting  of  the  forests  and  open- 
ing the  sluice-ways  for  the  surface  water, 
that  has  been  one  great  cause  of  the  higher 
waters  in  late  years  than  was  ever  known 
formerly.  Again,  it  is  said  that  the  towns 
and  railroads  and  other  improvements  upon 
the  river  banks,  tend  to  confine  the  waters, 
and  thus  swell  the  height  of  its  flow;  and  the 
fact  is  cited  that  where  a  few  years  ago  were 
ponds  and  pools  of  water,  sometimes  stand- 
ing the  whole  season  through,  are  now  often 
well-tilled  farms,  with  a  drainage  so  perfect 
that  no  water  ever  remains  more  than  a  few 
hours  upon  any  of  its  surface.  It  looks  rea- 
sonable that  there  is  something  in  these 
theories — there  probably  is — biit  the  fact 
that  the  waters  were  higher  at  the  source  of 
the  river  than  here  at  the  mouth  (of  the 
Ohio),  would  go  far  to  contradict  this  theory. 
At  Cincinnati  this  year  (1883),  the  water  was 
five  fept  higher  than  ever  before  known.  As 
early  as  the  12th  of  last  February,  the  rise 
in  the  Ohio  had  utterly  paralyzed  business, 
and  had  deprived  20,000  working  people  of 
Cincinnati,  Covington  and  Newport  of  the 
means  of  livelihood.  Five  square  miles  of 
Cincinnati  were  covered  with  water  from  one 
inch  to  twenty  feet  deep.  Many  lives  were 
lost,  and  many  millions  of  dollars  worth  of 
property  was  destroyed,  and  along  the  Upper 
Ohio  hundreds  of  thousands  of  people  suf- 
fered inconvenience  or  loss  from  the  wide- 
spread river  overflows.  In  the  Kentucky 
bottoms,  opposite  Shawneetown,  the  water 
was  three    and  a  half   feet  higher   than  ever 


before  known  since  the  settlement  of  the 
country;  while  at  Cairo  the  water  of  the  year 
only  exceeded  that  of  last  year  by  three  and 
a  half  inches.  There  must  have  been  other 
causes  than  cutting  the  trees  or  draining, 
for  the  floods  of  this  year  (1883),  one  pecu- 
liarity of  them  being  that  ihoy  were  re- 
stricted to  no  particular  locality,  but  seem  to 
have  been  general,  and  to  extend  nearly  over 
the  whole  world.  The  long-continued  rainn 
in  the  valley  of  the  Ohio,  that  fell  upon  the 
frozen  and  ice  covered  grounds,  where  not  a 
drop  was  absorbed  into  the  earth,  and  started 
the  raging  torrent  at  the  fountain-heads, 
were  the  palpable,  prime  cause  of  the  unusual 
waters.  In  Europe  the  rain-storm  started 
that  did  so  much  damage  here.  It  flooded 
the  Theiss  and  Danube,  the  Ehine,  in  Ger- 
many, and  the  Ehone  and  all  the  rivers  of 
France,  and  sent  them,  like  the  Ohio,  boom- 
ing out  of  their  banks  and  doing  widespread 
damage.  The  course  of  the  storm  across  the 
Atlantic  could  be  distinctly  traced  to  its  out- 
burst in  the  region  of  the  Upper  Ohio  and 
the  lakes,  and  spreading  rapidly  all  over  our 
continent,  until  every  section,  often  the  most 
retired  villages,  far  up  in  the  mountains,  and 
miles  away  from  any  lake  or  river,  seemed 
scarcely  safe.  Indeed,  one  of  the  most  awful 
calamities  of  the  long  list  of  disasters  of  this 
year  was.  that  which  took  place  out  in  the 
open  prairie  near  Braidwood,  111.,  where  the 
rain  had  piled  up  the  waters  three  feet  into 
a  lake,  which,  breaking  through  a  mine, 
drowned  the  unfortunate  miners  within. 
Every  tributary  of  the  Ohio  and  Mississipj^i 
■  Rivers  was  rising  at  the  same  time;  the 
Allegheny,  Monongahela,  Licking,  Kentucky 
and  Cumberland  were  all  at  flood-tide;  the 
Wabash  was  out  of  its  bed,  and  can-ying  de- 
struction on  its  course.  The  rivers  pouring 
into  the  lakes  were  also  raging;  the  Miami 
flooded  a  large  portion  of  Toledo;  the  Cuya- 


HISTORY   OF   CAIRO. 


123 


hoga  has  twice  this  year  inundated  Cleve- 
land, and  even  the  Atlantic  slope  tells  the 
same  sad  story,  and  in  the  far  West  it  is 
again  repeated. 

We  have  told  of  the  inundation  of  Cairo 
in  1858.  The  damage  to  the  property  of  the 
town,  except  the  falling  of  the  hotel  wall 
(and  that  was  evidently  from  the  imperfect 
building  of  the  foundation  more  than  the 
water)  did  not  amount  to  $1,000.  There  was 
not  a  house,  excepting  the  merest  shanties, 
that  was  materially  injured.  The  largest 
sufferer,  in  a  pecuniary  way,  was  Bailey  Har- 
rell,  whose  stock  of  goods  was  injured  to  the 
extent  of  a  few  hundred  dollars.  The  people 
of  Cairo  felt  no  suffering  from  actual  want, 
and  indeed  they  refused  any  outside  aid 
when  such  assistance  was  tendered  them. 
In  one  sense,  the  actual  and  material  injury 
to  the  place  was  most  insignificant  and  tri- 
fling; and  yet,  in  another  sense,  by  a  singular 
chain  of  circumstances,  it  was  almost  an  ir- 
reparable calamity  to  the  interests  of  the  city. 
In  the  most  exaggerated  way  it  was  blown 
in  the  face  of  all  the  world,  until  men 
never  after  heard  of  Cairo  except  to 
shudder  or  shrug  the  shoulders,  and 
either  express  the  sentiment  or  believe  it, 
that  its  very  name  meant  floods,  and  drown- 
ings, and  wreck  and  ruin.  There  is  not  a 
xiver-town  from  St.  Louis  ^or  Pittsburgh  to 
New  Orleans  but  that  has  suffered  from  in- 
undations incomparably  worse  than  has  Cairo, 
and  yet  their  raging  waters  are  hardly  passed 
away  when  the  people  seem  to  forget  it  all,  and 
their  calamity  is  not  again  whispered  until 
the  next  high  water  and  its  devastation. 

We  have  shown  how  trifling  and  insignifi- 
cant was  the  only  overflow  Cairo  has  ever 
had  since  she  has  been  walledabout  by  her 
levees.  In  contrast  to  this,  look  at  the  fol- 
lowing description,  by  an  eye-witness,  of  the 
Upper  Ohio  in  last  February: 


"  The  proportions  of  the  calamity  that  is 
upon  the  j)eople  of  the  Ohio  Valley  are  hour- 
ly increasing.  There  are  suffering,  desola- 
tion and  death  in  each  inch  of  the  awful  rise 
of  the  river  upon  a  stage  of  water  absolutely 
without  precedent,  and  the  details  of  distress 
which  called  for  symjjathy  in  the  floods  of 
Europe,  except  as  to  loss  ^of  life,  are  largely 
repeated  in  this  section  to-day.  *  *  *  * 
For  thirty  miles,  beginning  with  the  upper 
suburb  of  Cincinnati,  and  ending  with  Law- 
I'enceburg,  Ind.,  twenty-five  miles  below,  the 
damage,  destitution  and  distress  are  unparal- 
leled in  American  history.  Below  Lawrence- 
bm-g,  and  to  Louisville  [equally  true  if  he 
had  said  to  Cairo — Ed.]  the  situation  is  the 
same.  Beginning  with  the  upper  suburb  of 
Cincinnati,  on  the  Ohio  side,  are  Columbia, 
Pendleton,  Fulton  and  ,  then  Cincinnati, 
Sedamsville,  Riverside,  Fernbank,  Lawrence- 
burg,  Aiu'ora,  Rising  Sun,  Patriot,  Vevay 
and  Madison.  On  the  Kentucky  side  are 
the  towns  of  Dayton,  Bellevue  and  Newport, 
and  Covington,  opposite  Cincinnati,  Ludlow, 
Bromley,  Petersbui-g,  Hamilton,  Warsaw, 
Ghent,  Carrollton,  Milton,  Westport  and 
Louisville.  At  Patriot  and  Vevay,  the  river 
is  five  or  six  miles  wide,  and  at  all  these 
points  it  simply  extends  from  the  Ohio  to  the 
Kentucky  hills,  covering  all  the  rich  bottom 
lands.  Its  average  width  is  from  one  to  two 
miles — a  sea  of  yellow  waters.  At  all  these 
points  more  or  less  damage  is  done.  No 
statistics  are  available,  but  a  cool  guess 
would  place  the  number  of  people  either 
homeless  or  imprisoned,  at  not  less  than 
50,000.  There  are  15,000  at  Newport  alone, 
and  5,000  in  Lawrenceburg;  at  Louisville, 
New  Albany  and  Jeffersonville,  it  is  in  many 
respects  even  worse. 

"  The  east  end,  up  in  Fulton  and  Colum- 
bia, has  eight  feet  of  water  flowing  thi-ough 
the  main  street.       Many  houses  have   been 


124 


HISTORY  OF  CATEO. 


swept  away,  and  many  more  are  expected  to 
follow.  If  the  weather  was  not  warm  and 
pleasant,  the  suffering  worfld  be  intense. 
The  water  is  five  miles  wide  from  Columbia 
to  the  other  shore  of  the  Little  Miami  River, 
and  all  the  houses  on  the  bottom  have  disap- 
peared, not  even  the  roofs  being  visible. 
Western  avenue,  on  the  western  side  of  the 
city,  along  Mill  Creek  Valley,  has  been  de- 
clared unsafe,  and  travel  on  it  is  stopped. 
The  American  Oak  &  Leather  Company's 
tannery,  the  largest  in  the  world,  was  sub- 
merged at  1  o'clock  this  morning  (February 
15).  Along  Mill  Creek  Valley  are  most  of 
the  packing  houses.  One  packer  has  3,000,- 
000  pounds  of  meat  under  water,  and  from 
10,000,000  to  15,000,000  pounds  of  dry- 
salted  meats  are  in  the  same  condition.  No 
one  has  dared  to  make  an  estimate  of  the 
total  loss  here  (Cincinnati),  but  they  will  be 
millions." 

Of  Lawrenceburg,  Ind.,  an  official  report, 
among  other  things,  specifies:  "  There  never 
was,"  so  they  report,  "  in  all  history  of  the 
floods  in  the  Ohio  Valley,  a  city,  town  or 
hamlet  so  completely  at  the  mercy  of  the  an- 
gry element  as  is  Lawrenceburg.  For  three 
days,  the  citizens  ^vere  almost  without  a 
morsel  to  eat.  In  the  lower  portion  of  the 
city,  everything  is  destroyed,  save  the  dwell- 
ings, and  they,  of  coiu'se,  must  be  badly 
damaged.  Hundreds  of  the  houses  are  from 
ten  to  fifty  feet  under  water.  The  people, 
driven  from  their  homes,  fled  to  the  public 
buildings.  All  they  possessed  is  destroyed. 
We  steamed  alongside  the  court  house, 
woolen  mills,  churches,  furniture  factories 
and  public  school  buildings.  All  of  the 
above-named  buildings  were  crowded  with 
people  rescued  from  watery  gi-aves. 

"  In  the  large  and  more  secure  residences, 
families  have  been  driven  to   the  second  and 


third  stories.  On  the  principal  streets,  the 
water  ranges  from  seven  to  twenty-five  feet 
deep.  Few  of  the  merchants  saved  any  of 
their  goods,  and  although  precautions  were 
taken,  yet  nearly  all  furniture  is  ruined.  A 
great  many  houses  in  low  lands  have  been 
swept  away,  and  houses  and  contents  are  lost 
forever  to  the  owners. 

"  The  damage  to  factories  cannot  be  esti- 
mated. In  the  city  there  are  a  great  many 
furniture  factories,  all  of  which  had  on  hand 
large  stocks  of  lumber;  in  many  cases  this 
has  all  been  swept  away. 

"  The  machinery  in  some,  if  not  all.  the 
factories  and  mills,  has  been  badly  damaged, 
and  mostly  ruined.  The  county  records  have 
all  been  saved,  they  having  been  carried  to 
the  top  stories  of  the  court  house.  The  rich 
and  the  poor  are  upon  a  common  level,  and 
indiscriminately  huddled  together.  In  one 
part  of  the  court  house,  death  was  claiming 
its  victims,  while  in  another  new  lives  were 
being  ushered  into  the  world.  *  *  *  * 
The  reports  of  the  condition  of  the  people 
have  not  been  exaggerated.  In  fact,  the  half 
has  not  been  told.  The  entire  city,  with  a 
population  of  some  5,000,  are  in  want,  and 
are  at  the  mercy  of  the  public.  Distress  ex- 
tends from  one  end  of  the  city  to  the  other. 
The  town  has  been  without  communication 
with  the  outside  world  for  days,  except  by 
boats,  and  no  regular  packets  are  running. 
The  telegraph  offices  are  flooded,  and  the 
wires  are  down.  The  telephone  office  is  in 
several  feet  of  water.  In  short,  there  is  not 
a  dry  square  foot  of  ground  in  the  place. 

"  The  situation  of  the  citizens  of  Law- 
renceburg, imprisoned  in  the  conrt  house,  is 
constantly  growing  more  dangerous.  Added 
to  the  irregularity  of  the  food  supply,  and 
the  crowded  quarters,  is  the  possibility  that 
the  court  house  may  collapse,  from  the  un- 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


125 


dermining  of  its  foundation  by  the  flood  of 
waters.  Should  that  occur,  the  loss  of  life 
certainly  will  be  great." 

"We  forbear  to  extend  these  sad  and  har- 
rowing details,  nor  have  we  given  the  worst 
side  of  the  picture,  as  drawn  by  correspond- 
ents who  visited  the  different  towns  along 
the  Ohio  Kiver. 

While  this  terrible  page  of  history  was 
being  written  of  every  river  town  above  this 
point,  Cairo  was  peacefully  and  securely  pur- 
suing her  avocations;  her  railroads  making 
their  regular  trips;  not  a  wheel  in  any  of 
her  factories  impeded  for  even  a  moment. 

The    ordinaiy    business   of   the    day   was 

transacted  in  confidence  and  safety.     No  one 

was  alarmed  even  in  Cairo,  except  the  negroes 

and  a  few  nervous  and   timid    "tenderfoots," 

who,  when  they  would  go  upon  the  levee  and 

look  out  upon  the  broadest  expanse  of  waters 

they  had  ever  seen,  would  quake,    for   fear 

Cairo's  great  levees  would  give  way,  and  no 

Noah's    ark    was    at   hand  to   take   them  in. 

^Vhile  Cairo  was  the  one  dry  spot,  the  city  of 

refuge   to   which    came   the   sufferers    from 

above  and  from   below,  the  j^fol lowing  appeal 

to  the  world's  charity  was  being  issued  from 

nearly  every  town  from  here  to  Pittsburgh : 

SuAWNEETOWN,  111.,  via  Evansville,  Feb.  24. 
To  Marshall  Field  &  Co.,  Chicago: 

Our  people  are  overwhelmed  with  the  most  ap- 
palliiiLc  misfortune  ever  visited  upon  any  locality. 
The  Ohio  River  is  five  feet  higher  than  ever  known, 
and  still  rising.     Our  wealth  has  gone  down  with 


the  angry  waves.  Hundreds  are  destitute,  penni- 
less and  suffering.  We  must  have  help.  The  river 
is  from  three  to  thirty-five  miles  wide,  and  carrying 
utter  destruction  before  it.  The  loss  in  this  imme- 
diate vicinity  will  reach  $250,000  at  least.  We  ap- 
peal to  the  charitable  for  assistance  in  this  time  of 
need.  We  have  been  under  water  for  nearly  three 
weeks,  and  '  it  will  take  four  weeks  for  it  to  subside. 
(Signed)  Swofford  Bugs., 

Allen  &  Harrington, 
M.  M.  Pool, 
Thomas  IS.  Ridgeway, 
I.  M.  Millspaugh,  Mayor. 

The  very  next  day,  February  25,  Cairo  sent 
out  the  following:  "  The  river  was  fifty-two 
feet  one  inch  at  6  P.  M. ,  and  on  a  stand. 
Our  levees  are  holding  out  splendidly,  and 
no  fears  of  trouble  from  that  source  are  ex- 
pected." 

AVhile  Cairo  deeply  deplored  the  calami- 
ties to  her  sister  towns,  and  was  ready  and 
did  lend  a  generous  and  helping  hand  to  the 
sufferers,  yet  why  should  she  not  rejoice  in 
that  prudent  care  and  forethought  that 
placed  these  strong  battling  walls  around 
her,  that  defied  the  angry  waters,  and  un- 
shaken, stood  guard  over  the  peaceful  slum- 
bers, the  lives  and  the  property  of  her  peo- 
ple? 

The  oft-repeated  question,  can  levees  be 
built  that  will  secure  your  town  against  any 
water  ?  has  been  most  triumphantly  an- 
swered, both  in  the  year  1882  and  1883.  It 
is  no  longer  a  theory  nor  a  guess,  but  a 
demonstration,  as  plain  and  strong  as  Holy 
Writ. 


126 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


CHAPTER  VI. 


THE   PRESS— ITS   POWER    AS   THE   GREAT   CIVILIZER   OF   THE   AGE— CAIRO'S   FIRST   EDITORIAL 
VENTURES— BIRTH   AND    DEATH    OF    NEWSPAPERS    INNUMERABLE— THE    BOHEMIANS— 
WHO  THEY  WERE  AND  AVHAT  THEY  DID— "  BULL  RUN"  RUSSELL— HARRELL, 
WILLETT,    FAXON    AND    OTHERS— SOME    OF    THE    "INTELLI- 
GENT  COMPOSITORS"— QUANTUM    SUFFICIT. 


"  A  history  which  takes  no  account  of  what  was  said 
by  the  Press  in  memorable  emergencies  befits  an  earlier 
age  than  ours." — Horace  Greeley. 

IN  the  order  of  making  settlements  in  the 
Mississippi  Valley,  it  was  the  hunter  and  the 
trapper,  the  trader  and  the  merchant,  the  ham- 
let, village  or  the  mushroom  cit}^  and  then  the 
newspaper.  Here  it  waited  not,  like  of  old,  for 
that  ripened  civilization  that  was  supposed  to 
come  of  the  centuries,  that  left  people  hungry, 
if  not  perishing,  for  that  rich,  juicy  and  nutri- 
tious mental  pabulum  that  the  editor  was 
always  supposed  to  furnish. 

The  Press  is  the  Third  Estate  in  this  coun- 
try— it  has  been  called  the  palladium  of  Amer- 
ican liberties.  One  thing  is  quite  certain,  that 
the  wisest  and  best  thing  our  forefathers  did 
was  to  establish  a  "  free  press,"  nominally,  if 
not  actually.  True,  it  is  absolutely  free  so  far 
as  the  Government  is  concerned,  but  sometimes 
it  is  not  so  free  from  militar}-  dictation  or  from 
mob  rule,  and  a  few  instances  have  occurred, 
in  the  histor}'  of  the  country,  where  there  has 
been  a  foolish,  violent  and  fanatical  public  sen- 
timent, grossly  wrong  in  all  its  parts,  that  has 
ci'ushed  out  the  truth,  and  actually  suppressed 
the  only  true  friend  the  people  had — the  local 
press.  But  in  return,  the  press  can  say  it  has 
committed  outrages  upon  the  public  quite  as 
often  or  oftener  than  have  wrongs  been  perpe- 
trated against  it.  The  averages,  say,  are  even  ; 
then  if  two  wrongs  can  make  a  right,  a  reason- 
able justice  has  been  done,  and  the  great  pal- 


ladium remains,  and  the  Government  did  wisely 
foresee  the  eventual  wants  of  mankind  in  this 
respect.  And  under  the  benign  rays  of  their 
wisdom,  the  American  people  enjoy  a  free  press, 
and  this  means  free  speech,  free  schools,  free 
religion,  and,  supremest,  and  best  of  all,  free 
thought ;  for  here  is  where  the  world  has  suf- 
fered most,  because  as  a  man's  thoughts  are 
the  highest  part  of  him — that  which  makes 
him  the  superior  to  the  ox  that  grazes  upon 
the  hill — it  is  here  that  he  can  suffer  infinitely 
the  most ;  where  wrongs  may  be  inflicted  that 
are  ineffaceable,  incurable  and  shocking.  For 
it  was  thought,  and  nothing  else  but  thought, 
that  has  produced  the  present  civilization  and 
all  its  joys  and  pleasures — all  that  marks  the 
difference  in  us  and  those  miserable  crea- 
tures who  once  were  here,  owning  and  possess- 
ing all  this  grand  country,  and  whose  mode 
and  manner  of  life  may  all  be  drawn  from  the 
simple  fact  that  they  would  bury  the  live  wife 
in  the  same  grave  with  the  dead  husband. 
This  is  a  historic  fact,  although  it  occurred 
among  a  prehistoric  people.  The}'  had  no 
free  speech,  free  press  or  free  thought.  They 
may  have  had  a  strong  government,  a  govern- 
ment of  iron  and  lead,  and  they  may  have  wor- 
shiped that  government  as  dutiful  children 
worship  a  cruel  father,  but  they  have  never 
had  a  free  thought,  except  one  of  the  basest 
kind,  but  the  fact  remains  that  they  were  a 
despicable  people,  because  the}'  had  none  of 
that  civilization  that  eventuates  in  a  free  press. 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO, 


127 


It  was  the  great  invention  of  movable  t3'pes 
that  has  made  the  present  greatness  of  the 
press  possible.  "  The  types  are."  remarked 
one  of  the  greatest  men  the  world  has  pro- 
duced, "as  ships  which  pass  through  the  vast 
seas  of  time,  and  make  ages  to  participate  of  the 
wisdom,  illuminations  and  inventions,  the  one 
of  the  other  ;  for  the  image  of  men's  wits  remain 
in  books,  exempted  from  the  wrongs  of  time, 
and  capable  of  perpetual  renovation,  neither 
are  they  fitly  to  be  called  images,  because  they 
generate  stili  and  cast  their  seeds  in  the  minds 
of  others,  provoking  and  causing  infinite  action 
and  opinions  in  succeeding  ages.  We  see, 
then,  how  far  the  monuments  of  wit  and 
learning  are  more  durable  than  the  monuments 
of  power  or  of  the  hands.  For  have  not  the 
verses  of  Homer  continued  twenty-five  hundred 
3'ears  or  more,  without  the  loss  of  a  syllable  or 
letter  ?  during  which  time,  infinite  palaces, 
temples,  castles,  cities,  have  decayed  or  been 
demolished.  That  whereunto  man's  nature 
doth  most  aspire,  which  is  immortality  or 
continuance  ;  for  to  this  tendeth  generation, 
and  raising  of  houses  and  families  ;  to  this 
buildings,  foundations  and  monuments ;  to 
this  tendeth  the  desire  of  memory,  fame  and 
celebration,  and  in  effect  the  strength  of  all 
other  human  desires."  The  types  do  infinitely 
more  than  this  ;  they  are  men's  highest  source 
of  unalloyed  enjoyment  in  this  world.  They 
may  be  made  to  contribute  more  to  his  real 
pleasures  than  anything  else.  While  they  are 
the  most  enduring  thing  of  life,  the  joy  and 
pleasures  they  bring,  which  they  give  for  the 
asking,  they  give  food  and  pleasure  to  the 
mind.  For  in  life  what  pleasure  equals  that  of 
the  acquisition  of  new  truths  ?  This  is  not 
only  the  greatest  pleasure  to  the  healthy 
mind,  but  it  is  the  most  enduring.  It  is  the 
perennial  fountain  of  knowledge,  where  the 
thirsty  mind  may  drmk  deeply,  drink  draughts 
of  which  all  the  nectar  the  gods  ever  quaffed 
are  but  puddle  water.     And  it  is  not  alone  to 


the  mind  thirsting  for  the  deep  draughts  of 
knowledge  that  its  blessings  are  confined,  but 
it  gives  equally  to  all — the  thinker,  the  worker, 
the  idle,  the  dissolute,  the  rich,  the  poor,  the 
king  and  the  outcast,  a3-e,  even  the  wretched 
leper  to  whom  the  work  of  the  types  are  all  in 
this  world  that  can  save  him  from  a  living 
tomb.  It  is  the  philosopher's  touch-stone,  the 
Aladdin's  lamp,  the  genial  ray  of  sunshine 
that  penetrates  all  dungeons,  that  will  go  and 
abide  forever  wherever  human  life  can  exist. 
In  the  dingy  printing  oflSce  is  the  epitome  of 
the  world  of  action  and  of  thought — the  best 
school  in  Christendom — the  best  church.  Here 
is  where  divine  genius  perches  and  pauses,  and 
plumes  its  wings  for  those  loft}-  flights  that 
attract  and  awe  all  mankind  and  in  all  ages — 
here  are  kindled  and  fanned  to  a  flame  the  fires 
of  genius  that  sometimes  blaze  and  dazzle  like 
the  central  sun,  and  that  generate  and  renew 
the  rich  fruitage  of  'benign  civilization.  The 
press  is  the  drudge  and  pack-horse  —  the 
crowned  king  of  all  mankind.  The  gentle  click 
of  its  types  is  heard  around  all  the  world  ; 
thej;  go  sounding  down  the  tide  of  time,  bear- 
ing upon  their  gentle  waves  the  destinies  of 
civilization,  and  the  immortal  smiles  of  the 
pale  children  of  thought,  as  they  troop  across 
the  fair  face  of  the  earth  in  their  entrances  and 
exits  from  the  unknown  to  the  unknown, 
scattering  here  and  there  immortal  blessings, 
that  the  dull  blind  types  have  patientl}-  gath- 
ered, to  place  them  where  they  will  live  forever. 
It  is  the  earth's  S3'mphon3'  which  endures,  which 
transcends  that  of  the  "  morning  when  the  stars 
sang  together,"  and  when  its  chords  are  swept 
by  the  fingers  of  the  immortals,  it  is  the  echo 
of  those  anthems  that  float  up  forever  to  the 
throne  of  God.  Of  all  that  man  can  have  in 
this  world,  it  is  the  one  blessing,  whose  rose 
need  have  no  thorn,  whose  stveet  need  have  no 
bitter.  It  is  freighted  with  man's  good,  his  hap- 
piness and  the  divine  blessings  of  civilization. 
B}-  means  of  the  press,  the  lowliest  cabin  equals 


128 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


the  lordliest  palace  in  the  right  and  authority 
to  bid  enter  its  portals, .  and  be  seated  in  the 
famil}'  circle,  the  sweet  singer  of  Scotland — the 
delightfiill}'  immortal  Burns  —  who  died  at 
thirty-seven,  and  over  whose  grave  his  mis- 
taken, foolish  country-men  were  relieved  of  the 
poor  outcast  and  sot ;  they  thought  they  were 
burying  an  outcast,  when  the  clods  that 
covered  his  poor  body  hid  the  warm  sunlight 
of  Scotland.  Or  bid  the  crowned  monarch  of 
mankind  come  in,  and  with  wife,  children  and 
friends  tarry  until  bed-time,  and  tell  the  real 
story  of  Hamlet ;  or  Lord  Macaulay  will  lay 
aside  titles  and  dignity,  and  with  the  poor 
cotter's  family  hold  familiar  discourse  in  those 
rich  resounding  sentences  that  flow  on  forever 
like  a  great  and  rapid  river  ;  or  Charles  Lamb, 
whose  heart  was  saddest,  whose  wit  was  sweet- 
est, whose  life  was  a  mingling  of  smiles  and 
tears,  and  let  him  tell  the  children  and  the 
grandsires  the  story  of  the  invention  of  the 
roast  pig  ;  or  Johnson,  his  boorishness  and 
roughness  all  gone  now,  in  trenchant  sentences 
pour  out  his  jeweled  thoughts  to  eager  ears  ; 
or  bid  Pope  tell  somethingof  the  story  of  man's 
inhumanity  to  man  ;  or  poor,  poor  delightful 
Poe,  with  his  bird  of  evil  omen,  croaking, 
croaking,  "  nevermore  !"  Or  Dickins,  George 
Elliott,  Bunyan  or  Voltaire,  or  any  of  the 
thousands  of  others,  when  all  may  be  fed  to 
fullness. 

Thanks,  then,  a  million  times  thanks,  to  our 
I  dear  old  Revolutionary  sires  for  giving  us  the 
great  boon  of  a  free  press.  If  our  Government 
endures,  and  the  people  continue  free,  here  will 
be  much  of  the  reason  thereof,  for,  mark  you, 
freedom,  though  once  never  so  well  established, 
will  not  maintain  and  prepetuate  itself,  because 
by  the  laws  of  heredity  that  lurks  in  ever}-  man, 
more  or  less,  the  latent  customs  or  habits  or 
mental  convictions  of  a  barbarous  ancestry 
leave  the  seeds  of  monarchy  and  despotism. 
True,  the  Americans  have  this  (speaking  in 
reference  to  a  democratic  form  of  government) 


less  than  any  other  people  in  the  world  ;  they 
are  farther  removed  from  an  ancestry  that 
worshiped  under  kingly  rulers  —  an  ancestry 
that  perhaps  honestly  worshiped  an  autocrat 
and  that  would  have  almost  let  out  its  own 
blood,  had  they  known  they  would  produce  a 
posterity  that  would  cease  to  worship  at  the 
same  shrine,  or  even  emigrate  to  some  foreign 
country,  and  learn  to  detest  and  hate  all  im- 
perial pretensions.  Hence,  we  say,  the 
American  people  have  this  tendency  to  return 
to  monarchy  less  than  any  other  people  in  the 
world,  and  yet  even  here  it  is  as  true  now  as 
when  uttered,  that  "  eternal  vigilance  is  the 
price  of  liberty."  The  press,  therefore,  is 
essential  to  the  perpetuation  of  free  institutions 
in  America. 

That  the  press  can  do  no  wrong,  it  is  not  our 
intention  in  the  remotest  way  to  assert.  So 
great  an  institution,  so  varied  its  interests, 
so  numerous  its  controllers  and  its  guides,  that 
it  would  be  a  foolish  man  indeed  who  would 
even  hope  that  it  ever  would  become  infallible. 
A  wise  people,  therefore,  will  jealously  watch 
it,  while  it  is  standing  upon  the.  watch-tower, 
hunting  for  the  ambitious  usurper  to  catch  and 
slay  him.  This  is  the  very  genius  of  free 
institutions — vigilance  and  untiring  watchful- 
ness upon  the  part  of  all. 

But  it  is  of  the  coming  of  the  press,  the 
printers,  the  editors,  the  writers,  publishers, 
and  others  brought  here  in  connection  with  the 
press,  even  including  that  strange  creature, 
who  always  accompanies  those  pious  and  verj' 
moral  gentleman,  the  "  devil,"  that  it  is  our 
purpose  to  immediately  speak.  They  were 
altogether  a  remarkable  set,  who  published 
remarkable  papers,  and  some  still  more  remark- 
able articles.  They,  as  has  always  been  the 
case  everywhere,  had  their  differences,  their 
quarrels  even,  but  be  it  said  to  their  credit,  no 
matter  from  what  cause  it  came,  the  disputes 
never  resulted  in  anything  more  serious  than  a 
few  bitter  paragraphs,  and  then  their  injured 


HISTORY   OF   CAIRO. 


129 


honor  was  appeased,  and  the  entente  cordiale 
once  more  prevailed.  Here  the  whole  thing 
was  like  the  rise  and  fall  of  the  Roman  empire, 
except  there  was  more  of  them.  Cairo  reached 
the  astounding  population  of  2,000  souls  before 
an  attempt  was  made  to  start  a  paper  here— 
something  that  could  not  possibly  happen  now, 
as  probably  300  is  the  extreme  limit  that  the 
l3^nx-eyed  printer  of  this  age  will  allow  to 
gather  together  without  starting  at  least  one 
paper,  and  often  two.  In  the  year  1841,  just 
when  Cairo  was  in  the  zenith  of  her  first  term 
of  greatness  and  just  before  she  fell  from  that 
height  and  past  to  her  first  nadir,  that  one  Mc- 
Neer  came  here  and  brought  a  small  press  and 
started  a  paper.  It  was  in  the  first  flush  times 
of  Cairo,  when  Holbrook  was  the  master  and 
autocrat  of  all,  when  his  company  were  spend- 
ing money  by  the  millions,  and  were  building 
everything  and  doing  everything.  McNeer  was 
a  stranger  to  aflfairs,  and  showed  his  utter  want 
of  judgment  by  not  asking  Holbrook  if  he 
might  come.  Indeed,  worse  than  this,  when 
he  started  his  paper  he  had  the  audacity  to 
criticize  that  great  ruler,  and  he  soon  acknowl- 
edged his  error  by  leaving  town  and  taking  his 
paper  with  him.  The  unholy  monster  monopoly 
had  crushed  him,  and  no  other  daring  advent- 
urer followed,  for  the  simple  reason  that  in  a 
few  months  the  dynasty,  the  town,  and  every- 
thing pretty  much  about  it  had  gone  much 
worse  bursted  and  crushed  than  had  poor 
McNeer. 

In  June,  1848,  Add  Saunders  established  the 
Cairo  Delta,  neutral  in  politics,  and  although 
Cairo  had  only  142  souls,  yet  the  breezy  new- 
ness of  such  a  thing  soon  gave  him  a  circula- 
tion of  800  copies.  But  whether  because  he  saw 
the  storm  coming  or  from  what  cause  we  do  not 
know,  he  closed  the  concern  in  October,  1849, 
left  Cairo,  went  to  Evansville,  and  consolidated 
with  the  Evansville  Journal. 

And  then  another  interregnum  occurred  in 
the  newspaper  world  of  Cairo.     This  continued 


until  April  10,  1851,  when  Frank  Rawlings,  of 
Emporium,  or  Mound  City,  started  the  Cairo 
Sun  here.  It  was  full  of  good  enough  Democ- 
racy, but  was  supposed  to  be  really  in  the  inter- 
ests of  the  Emporium  City  Company,  if  not 
actually  started  by  it.  This  was  a  company 
started  at  Mound  City  for  the  purpose  of  break- 
ing down  Cairo  and  building  the  great  city  at 
that  point.  It  was  this  perhaps  as  much  as 
anything  else  that  caused  the  paper  to  die  of 
starvation  just  one  year  to  a  day  from  the  time 
of  its  starting.  There  are  now  pretty  strong 
evidences  that  this  was  the  true  fact  in  the  case, 
as,  within  the  year  of  the  paper's  publication, 
Gren.  Rawlings,  the  father  of  Frank,  had  come 
to  Cairo,  and  in  the  name  of  some  tax-titles  or 
Sheriff's  deeds  or  a  combination  of  these  and  even 
other  things,  had  tried  to  capture  the  entire  town 
of  Cairo,  or  a  larger  portion  of  it.  An  old  settler 
here  still  remembers  seeing  the  old  General  in 
solemn  state  carefully-  ride  around  the  city, 
taking  possession  of  his  demesne.  If  there 
were  other  instances  at  all  similar  to  this  it 
makes  it  plausible  that  the  good  people  of  Cairo 
feared  that  "  my  son  Frank  "  was  really  little 
else  than  a  well-got-up  sp}-. 

Just  here  it  should  be  noted  that  it  was  a 
singular  fact  that  the  Cairo  &  City  Canal 
Company,  or  perhaps  better  to  sa}'  Holbrook, 
in  all  his  vast  schemes  of  grabbing  after  rail- 
roads, canals,  wild  cat  banks  and  the  greatest 
commercial  city  in  the  world  and  untold  mill- 
ions of  hard  dollars  from  Europe,  and  what 
little  else  the  balance  of  mankind  had,  should 
never  have  thought  to  start  a  paper  in  his  own 
private  interest.  Was  this  the  fatal  spot  in 
the  heel  where  he  was  at  last  wounded  unto 
death  ?  A  personal  organ  in  those  daj^s  prob- 
ably' had  not  been  tried,  but  this  is  precisely 
the  reason  it  ought  to  have  suggested  itself  to 
Holbrook. 

Cairo  Times. — After  another  reign  of  silence 
from  the  news  world,  Len  G.  Faxon  and  W. 
A.  Hacker  started  the  Cairo  Times.    Hacker  was 


130 


HISTORY  OF   CAIRO. 


the  heav}'  editor,  while  Faxon,  with  a  dreadful 
long-pointed  sharp  stick,  stirred  up  the  animals. 
The  paper  was  a  weekly,  and  of  the  old  bour- 
bon barefooted  Democrac}- — the  kind  that 
would  have  cried  out  to  its  million  readers,  at 
the  outbreak  of  the  war  (it  never  had  300,  you 
know)  to  maintain  an  armed  neutralit}'  and 
save  the  nation  from  bloodshed  and  war. 
Hacker  had  good  talents,  but  he  was  not  a 
journalist ;  he  did  not  seek  to  be  one.  He  was 
a  politician  and  a  lawyer,  and  he  soon  retired 
from  the  newspaper  to  his  favorite  pursuits. 
On  the  other  hand,  journalism  was  as  natural 
to  Faxon  as  water  is  to  a  duck,  and  there  was 
but  one  thing  that  ev'er  prevented  him  gain- 
ing the  highest  eminence  in  his  profession,  and 
that  may  best  be  designated  as  general  insta- 
bility. "  He  was  a  fellow  of  infinite  jest,"  and 
a  sharp  and  vigorous  pen,  but  as  to  using  it  he 
preferred  to  be  with  the  boys.  He  made  no 
professions  to  profundit}'  of  writing,  but  he  was 
always  sparkling  and  readable.  He  did  not  re- 
main a  very  long  time  in  Cairo,  but  perhaps  as 
long  as  he  has  remained  anywhere  since  he  be- 
came a  Bohemian,  and  after  leaving  here  he 
has  drifted  about  the  world  and  finalh'  is  now 
in  Paducah,  K}-.,  where  he  went  in  his 
regular  trade,  and  after  making  himself  the 
master  bantam  of  that  town,  we  believe  he 
dropped  his  faber  and  is  now  seeking  other  and 
more  promising  schemes.  But  it  is  not  worth 
while  to  bid  him  adieu  yet  from  the  profession, 
for  almost  an^'  moment  j'ou  ma}'  hear  of  him 
breaking  out  afresh  in  some  new,  strange  and 
most  unexpected  journalistic  wa\-.  But  we 
have  not  concluded  our  account  of  Faxon  in 
Cairo  3'et,  which  we  will  now  proceed  to  do. 
He  severed  his  connection  with  the  Times  earl}' 
in  the  year  1855,  being  with  the  paper  a 
little  less  than  one  year,  and  Ed  Willett,  the 
poet,  journalist  and  erratic  young  man,  took 
his  place.  And  it  was  then  Hacker  &  Willett 
who  were  steering  the  Times  along  the  troubled 
waters  of  the  journalistic  sea.     They  continued 


the  publication  until  the  following  November, 
when  the  paper  was  merged  with  the  Ddta,  and 
Hacker,  so  far  as  we  know,  retired  forever  fi'om 
the  vexations,  the  trials,  the  strains  and  glories 
of  the  editorial  life.  And  as  we  will  say  no 
more  of  Hacker  in  this  department,  we  will  dis- 
miss the  subject  of  his  ability,  style  and  excel- 
lence as  a  writer  b}'  quoting  the  remark  of 
"  Mose"  Harrell,  in  a  published  account  of  the 
press  of  Cairo  in  1864.  In  speaking  of  this 
very  paper  that  we  have  just  followed  to 
its  grave,  he  says :  "  This  hebdomadal  was 
Democratic  in  politics,  ever}'  number  betraying 
the  impress  of  the  engaging  ponderosity  of 
Hacker's  pen,"  etc. — the  '•  engaging  ponderosi- 
ty"^is  rather  neat,  but  of  Mr.  Hacker  in  his  real 
place  in  life,  we  will  have  occasion  to  speak  at 
more  length  when  we  come  to  the  chapter  on 
the  bench  and  bar. 

Cairo  Delta. — On  the  -ith  of  July,  1855, 
Faxon  started  this  paper.  It  had  but  little 
politics  in  it,  but  it  wielded  a  free  lance  for 
every  comer,  and  poked  and  prodded  and  put 
on  a  long-tailed  coat  and  would  tread  majesti- 
call}'  around  dragging  this  behind  and  begging 
some  man  to  tread  on  it.  It  had  onh'  a  short 
existence  of  four  months,  when  Faxon,  dis- 
covering what  he  lacked  in  Willett,  and  Willett 
discovering  certain  essential  qualities  him- 
self in  Faxon,  they  wooed  and  wedded  and 
joined  their  two  papers  together,  and  this 
happy  union  resulted  in  the 

Times  and  Delta. — And  so  anotlier  paper 
was  launched  upon  the  journalistic  sea,  the 
first  issue  of  which  was  in  November.  1855. 
It  floui'ished  finely  under  its  dual  title,  because 
it  combined  the  materials  of  an  almost  certain 
success  in  its  publishers.  The  publication  con- 
tinued until  1859. 

Cairo  Egyptian. — Established  in  1856.  bv 
Bond  &  McGrinnis.  This  was  Ben  Bond,  the 
youngest  son  of  the  first  Governor  of  Illinois, 
who  was  one  of  the  earliest  men  to  see  here  in 
Cairo  great  future  possibilities.     His  faith  in 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


131 


the  place  perhaps  induced  Ben  to  come  here 
and  try  the  wheel  of  fortune  in  what  turned 
out  to  be  a  rash  venture.  The  paper  was  of 
course  an  uncompromising  Democrat  in  poli- 
tics. It  could  hardly  have  been  anything  else 
with  the  name  of  any  one  of  the  numerous 
Bond  boys  to  it.  The  paper  soon  passed  to 
the  control  of  S.  S.  Brooks,  and  its  name 
changed  to  the 

Cairo  Gazette,  and  its  publication  con- 
tinued under  this  rather  brilliant  newspaper 
man  for  nearly  two  A'ears.  Brooks,  when  he 
closed  out  his  paper  interest  here,  went  to 
Quinc}^  111.,  where  he  established  the  Her- 
ald, in  which  he  made  an  extensive  reputation, 
which  reputation,  our  recollection  is,  was  some- 
thing after  the  style  of  G.  D.  Prentice,  that  is, 
in  Prentice's  double  meaning  paragraphs. 
In  1858,  Brooks  sold  out  to  John  A.  Hull  and 
James  Hull,  and  they  continued  the  publica- 
tion until  the  month  of  August,  1859,  when  it 
was  purchased  by  M.  B.  Harrell,  who  published 
the  paper  until  the  spring  of  1864,  when  he 
sold  it  out  to  the  Cairo  News  Company,  a  Re- 
publican concern,  organized  chiefly  by  the 
efforts  of  John  H.  Barton. 

Cairo  Journal — A  German  paper,  the 
first  of  the  kind  attempted  here,  was  issued 
in  1858.  A  weekh'  paper  and  the  few  Ger- 
mans there  were  here  to  patronize  it  valued  it 
quite  highl\-,  3'et  it  lingered  in  a  state  of  great, 
destitution  and  died  after  a  few  months. 

Cairo  Zeitung. — Its  name  tells  its  nativity 
This  was  a  semi-weekh"  paper,  issued  from  the 
office  of  the  Gazette  in  1859.  It  was  an  am- 
bitious little  Dutchman,  as  is  evidenced  by  the 
fact  that  it  started  in  as  semi-weekly.  It  fair- 
1}'  "  donnei'ed  de  wedder"  the  first  few  weeks 
of  its  existence,  but  it  was  all  to  no  purpose,  it 
sickened  and  died,  aged  four  months,  and  its 
happ3'  shade  is  now  in  the  krout  business  in 
the  happy  hunting  grounds  set  apart  for  dead 
Cairo  papers. 

Egyptian  Obelisk. — In  IRtU.  William  Hunter 


and  a  few  other  infatuated  souls,  concluded 
Cairo  was  ripe  to  be  Christianized  by  a  great 
daily  Republican  paper,  to  let  in  some  light 
upon  Egj'ptian  darkness.  As  this  was  a  free 
countr}- — all  except  Cairo,  which  was  inten^^ely 
Democratic — no  one  interfered  with  their  gi- 
gantic project,  and  upon  a  fixed  hour  it  was 
launched  upon  an  astounded  world.  Its  rug- 
ged course  of  life  lasted  through  just  two 
issues,  when  its  little  slippers  were  put  away, 
with  the  consoling  I'emark,  "  whom  the  gods 
love  die  young."' 

Cairo  Daily  News — A  Republican  paper,  es- 
tablished in  1863,  b}'  a  joint-stock  compan}', 
the  head  of  which  company',  the  writer's  rec- 
ollection is,  was  John  W.  Trover.     This  was 
quite  a  pretentious,  and  in  many  respects,  a 
paper  that  was  a  credit  to  Cairo.     It  was  prob- 
ably the  first  paper  in  the  town  that  ever  took 
the  Associated   Press    dispatches.     It   had   a 
general  and  local  editor,  and  published  con- 
siderable river  and   financial   news.     But   its 
specialt}'  was  the  army  and  navv  and  '•  loyalty," 
with  a  strong  penchant  for  watching  the  trait- 
ors,   or    which   was     then    the    same    thing, 
the  Democrats.     It  piped  its  own  loyalty,  and 
the  arrant  treason  of  every  one  who  differed 
from  it.     Its  first  editor  was  Dan  Munn,  known 
far  and  wide  as  a  brother  of  Ben's.     Dan  was 
an  offshoot  of  the   remarkable  establishment 
that  flourislied  here  as  a  part  of  the  great  war 
times,  known  as  the  house  of  Munn,    Pope  & 
Munn.     To   Dan's  credit  be   it  said   he  never 
was  a  journalist.     His  forte  la}-  in  other  direc- 
tions, and  in  a  ver}'  short  time  he  retired  and 
was   succeeded  as   editor   by  John    A.    Hull, 
whose  industry  soon  showed   that  there  was  a 
marked  change  in  the  depai-tment.     Hull  never 
was  brilliant,  because   he  did   not  have  much 
faith   in   that  kind  of  editing,  and  to  tliis  da}' 
we  believe  that  if  anything  could  have  made 
the  News  a  success,  it  was  the  steady -going, 
even-tempered  mode   of    editing     pursued  by 
Mr.  Hull. 


132 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


Before  the  paper  was  a  3'ear  old,  it  became 
apparent  that  Trover  was  rapidly  tiring  of 
footing  the  deficiency  bills,  and  the  ]\^ews  com- 
pany notified  the  boys  in  the  office,  or  at  least 
action  to  that  eflfect  was  had,  and  the  usual 
process  of  rats  deserting  the  ship  was  again 
enacted  in  the  world's  history. 

At  one  time  Birney  Mai'shall  and  James  0. 
Durff  ran  it  until  the  first  week's  bill  for  the 
Associated  Press  dispatches  came  in,  when  they 
declared  the  great  house  temporarily  closed. 
Still  others  were  induced  to  put  in  enough 
money,  and  when  it  had  good  luck  it  would 
run  a  week,  and  then  again  twenty-four  hours 
would  wind  it  up.  But  finally,  in  1865,  at  a 
little  over  the  age  of  two  years,  and  filled  with 
mere  changes  and  vicissitudes  than  an}'  similar 
thing  that  ever  existed,  it  breathed  its  last. 
It  had  been  dead  so  long  before  it  acknowl- 
edged it  that  it  is  doubtful  if  it  ever  had  any 
funeral.  Marshall  and  DurflT  both  died  a  few 
years  ago  in  Memphis. 

Cairo  Democrat — By  Thomas  Lewis,  a  daily 
and  weekl}'  Democratic  paper.  The  office  was 
removed  from  Springfield,  111.,  to  this 
place,  and  the  publication  of  a  nine-column 
daily  paper  commenced  on  the  3d  da}^  of 
August,  1863. 

This  was  about  the  first  effort  to  establish  a 
real  metropolitan  dail}'  paper,  giving  all,  even 
the  great  amount  of  war  news  then  prevalent 
in  the  country-.  It  was  brought  here  at  great 
expense,  run  with  a  full  force  of  editors,  re- 
porters and  printers,  and  was  published  under 
great  disadvantages.  Cairo  was  literall}-  a  fort 
of  the -Union  Ai'my,  the  town  full  of  soldiers  and 
under  martial  law  ;  provost  guaixls  were  the 
police  of  the  town,  and  a  military'  man  was  not 
only  Mayor  and  Governor,  but  supreme  auto- 
crat, whose  will  was  law  even  unto  death,  and 
there  were  only  a  few  of  them  who  doubted  his 
own  abilit}',  not  onlj'  to  discharge  his  military 
office,  but  to  edit  at  least  all  the  Democratic 
papers   published   within   the   United   States. 


The  result  was  there  was  sometimes  that  kind 
of  meddling  that  was  exceedingly  unpleasant 
to  publishers.  Orders  would  come  some- 
times daily,  either  from  the  Provost  Marshal's 
office,  or  from  headquarters,  giving  directions 
how  to  run  the  paper,  what  to  publish  and 
what  not  to  publish.  Practically,  you  were 
paying  the  heavy  expenses  of  a  printing  office, 
and  some  one  else  was  editing  it — such  edit- 
ing as  it  was.  At  times  an  order  would  come 
—a  standing  order,  mark  you — to  submit  all 
matter  intended  for  the  paper  to  inspection, 
before  it  could  be  printed. 

The  writer  hereof  remembers  an  amusing  in- 
cident of  those  strange  times.  He  had  written 
and  published  a  short,  silh'  story  about  a  man 
who  kept  a  pea-nut  stand  on  the  street,  and 
how  he  first  "  knocked  down"  the  profits,  and 
finally  the  capital  and  clandestinely  closed  his 
establishment  and  crawled  under  the  sidewalk, 
just  beneath  where  his  store  had  been,  and  left 
his  creditors  to  whistle.  Then  went  on  with  a 
lot  of  stuff  about  how  all  the  first  detectives  in 
the  world  were  put  upon  the  fugitive's  tracks, 
chartering  steamers,  railroads,  telegraphs, 
etc.",  and  how  they  peered  around  and  peeked 
into  the  North  pole  in  the  pursuit,  and  how  he 
lay  snoring  under  the  sidewalk  all  the  time. 

It  is  hard  to  imagine  anything  more  silly  to 
be  put  into  print,  but  there  may  have  been 
some  excuse  at  that  day,  from  the  fact  that 
some  manliad  just  defaulted  in  New  York  for 
a  large  amount,  and  supposing  he  would  flee 
to  the  uttermost  parts  of  the  earth  the  detec- 
tives acted  accord ingh\  Whereas,  in  fact,  he 
only  moved  to  a  new  boarding  house,  and 
rested  there  content.  It  seems  he  could  not  be 
found  because  he  'had  not  fled. 

For  this  the  writer  was  jerked  up  and  asked 
to  explain  it  all.  He  frankly  confessed  that  it 
was  wholh'  meaningless — confessed  upon  his 
sacred  honor  it  was  not  a  cipher  dispatch  to 
the  Southern  Confederacy,  and  was  ready  to 
swear  with  up-lifted   hand,  that  he  thought  if 


^^id&A 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


13o 


Jeflf  Davis  ever  was  compelled  to  read  it,  or  b}' 
an\'  chance  should  read  it,  that  it  would  kill 
him  in  five  minutes. 

This  happ}-  explanation  closed  the  doors  of 
the  threatening  bastile,  with  the  happy  victim 
on  the  outside  and  not  inside. 

We  cannot  here  enumerate  all  the  annoyances 
that  it  was  possible  to  and  that  actually  were 
thrown  in  the  way  of  the  publication  of  the 
Democrat,  but  the}'  were  many,  vexatious  and 
sorely  trjMug.  But  just  here  we  wish  distinct- 
ly to  remark  that  it  was  not  a  universal  prac- 
tice with  the  military  to  act  such  silly  roles. 
The  commauding  officer  was  often  changed, 
and  it  may  be  said,  on  behalf  of  the  majority 
of  them,  that  they  were  intelligent  and  clever 
gentlemen,  and  from  all  such  there  was  no 
more  annoyance  than  from  an}'  private  gentle- 
man. Indeed  many  of  them  were  of  that  cult- 
ured and  agreeable  kind  that  all  the  society 
people  of  Cairo  much  enjoyed  their  stay  among 
them.  But  when  the  meddlers  did  come,  their 
folly  was  only  the  more  illy  borne  by  the  con- 
trast that  the  others  made. 

Mr.  Lewis  is  entitled  to  all  the  credit  that 
can  come  of  persistence  in  the  face  of  such 
obstacles  as  we  have  named.  Of  course,  there 
were  many  others,  but  so  there  are  under  any 
circumstances  in  starting  an  enterprise  of  this 
kind. 

The  paper  had  a  warm  support  throughout 
all  Southern  Illinois,  and  a  partial  support  from 
both  Kentucky  and  Missouri,  but  in  these  two 
last-mentioned  places  there  were  so  few  mail 
facilities,  and  there  were  guerrillas  frequently 
in  those  localities,  that  the  circulation  of  the 
paper  was  in  that  direction  infinitesimal. 
Without  giving  figures,  it  is  probably  a  fact 
that  the  daily  and  weekly  Democmt,  within  a 
year  of  the  commencement  of  publication,  had, 
combined,  the  largest  circulation  of  any  paper 
published  in  Cairo. 

The  first  editor  was  H.  C.  Bradsby,  assisted 
in  the  local  department  by  C.  C.  Phillipps.  and 


John  W.  McKee.  Mr.  Bradsby  continued  in  his 
position  about  one  year,  and  having  accepted  a 
position  of  correspondent  of  the  Missouri  Re- 
puhUcan  and  afterward  the  Chicago  Times,  re- 
tired, and  was  succeeded  by  J.  Birney  Mar- 
shall, of  Kentucky.  Mr.  Marshall  continued  for 
some  months  as  editor,  and,  retiring,  was  suc- 
ceeded by  Joel  G-.  Morgan,  who  came  here  for 
that  purpose,  from  Jonesboro,  111.,  and 
after  a  short  time  Mr.  Morgan  retired  and  was 
replaced  by  John  H.  Oberly. 

The  paper  lived  along  until  1878,  when  it 
passed  into  the  hands  of  a  joint-stock 
company  and  joined  and  consolidated  with  the 
Cairo  Times.  The  new  concern  retained  the  name 
of  Cairo  Democrat,  H.  L.  Goodall.  General 
Superintendent,  and  John  H.  Oberly,  editor. 

It  was  the  hope  of  its  friends  that  this  ar- 
rangement would  relieve  both  papers  of  all  em- 
barrassments and  make  one  strong,  self-sus- 
taining paper.  It  was  ably  and  expensively 
operated  under  the  new  arrangement,  and  cer- 
tainly a  common,  strong  efl!brt  was  made  to 
make  a  paper  that  would  draw  to  itself  a  good 
support.  But  after  the  first  month,  its  very  ex- 
istence was  precarious,  and  after  fifteen 
months  of  heroic  struggles  it  was  sold  by  the 
Sheritf,  and  John  H.  Oberly  became  the  pur- 
chaser, and  thus  ended  the  long  struggle  for 
existence  by  a  daily  paper  in  Cairo,  the  long- 
est made  by  any  of  the  hosts  that  have  come, 
flourished  their  brief  hour  and  expired. 

Tlie  War  Eagle — Was  a  soldier's  paper  pub- 
lished at  Columbus,  Ky.,  by  H.  L. 
Goodall,  who  moved  the  entire  concern  to 
Cairo  in  1864,  and  made  a  vigorous,  spicy 
little  Republican  paper  of  it.  It  was  so  suc- 
cessful and  was  attracting  so  wide  an  influence, 
that  parties  here  induced  Mr.  Goodall  to  en- 
large his  sphere  of  action,  which  he  did  by  pur- 
chasing a  fine  outfit  for  a  large  office,  moving 
into  new  and  spacious  quarters  (from  the 
Eagle's  roost  in  the  barracks).  And  the  en- 
larged new  paper  was  the 


186 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


Cairo  Times — A  daily  Republican  paper, 
commenced  in  the  latter  part  of  1866.  The 
Eagle  was  a  little  unpretentious  weekl}',  but 
the  Phoenix  that  rose  from  its  ashes,  was  a 
large,  handsome,  well-constructed  daily.  The 
paper  was  well  patronized,  but  we  very  much 
doubt  if  Mr.  Goodall  ever  saw  the  day,  after 
the  first  six  months,  that  he  was  glad  of  the 
change.  The  Times  had  none  of  the  Eagles 
scream.  Maj.  Caffrey  was  its  general  editor — 
a  man  of  considerable  ability,  a  strong  Repub- 
lican and  good  fellow.  He  remained  with  Mr. 
Goodall  until  politics  had  ceased  to  be  a  feat- 
ure, when  he  sought  other  pastures.  At  latest 
accounts  he  was  in  Kansas  City,  Kan.,  pub- 
lishing a  weekly  Republican  paper. 

The  Union — A  Republican  weekly,  started 
in  1866,  by  H.  L.  Goodall,  as  a  side-show,  per- 
haps, to  his  great  and  flourishing  daily.  The 
editor  of  this  inoffensive  political  organ  was 
Mr.  Hutchinson.  It  was  soon  sold  to  J.  H. 
Barton  and  its  publication  discontinued. 

The  Sunday  Leader — A  literary  paper, 
started  in  1866,  by  Ed  S.  Trover,  issued  every 
Sunday  morning.  There  were  many  marks  of 
real  merit  about  this  periodical.  The  sole 
writer  for  it  was  its  editor,  but  he  was  well 
known  in  the  city  from  his  position  of  local  on 
the  News,  where  he  had  made  his  mark  as  a 
promising  boy. 

City  Item — A  little  five-column  weekly-  local 
paper,  was  started  into  existence  in  the  early 
part  of  1866,  by  Bradsby  &  Field  (Bourne). 
It  was  independent  in  politics  and  prett}'  much 
everything  else.  It  was  only  intended  to  cir- 
culate in  Cairo. 

This  paper  was  the  suggestion  of  John  Field, 
who  had  for  a  long  time  been  foreman  in  the 
Democrat  office,  and,  leaving  that  place,  he 
went  to  Bradsb}'  with  his  scheme  ;  that  he 
would  do  all  the  work,  Bradsb}'  to  do  the 
writing  ;  to  rent  a  case  in  one  of  the  printing 
offices  and  hire  the  press  work  done.  It  was 
to  be  all  original  matter,  set  solid,  and  to  con- 


tain no  "ad"  more  than  ten  lines  long,  and  no 
display  advertisements.  It  was  no  serious 
effort  at  a  paper,  and  b^'  common  consent,  the 
whole  com m unit}'  looked  upon  it  as  a  joke, 
and.  that  really  was  about  all  there  was  of  it, 
and  it  was  perhaps  luck}-  for  the  criminal  that 
this  was  so.  It  lived  something  over  a  3'ear 
and  then  quit. 

Olive  Branch — By  Mrs.  Mary  Hutchinson,  a 
famil}'  paper,  with  an  olive  wreath  about  its 
brow.  It  lived  about  one  year.  It  commenced 
and  died  in  1867. 

Cairo  Times. — Revived  in  1868,  by  H.  L. 
Goodall.  A  strong  daily  and  weekl}-  Repub- 
lican paper.  Its  regular  publication  continued 
until  the  early  part  of  1871,  when  Mr. 
Goodall  evidently  tired  of  the  newspaper  busi- 
ness in  Cairo,  wound  up  his  concern,  sold  out 
all  Cairo  interests  and  went  to  Chicago. 

Cairo  Daily  Bulletin — A  Democratic  paper 
started  by  John  H.  Oberly,  in  November,  1868. 
J.  H.  Oberly,  chief  editor,  M.  B.  Harrell,  as- 
sociate. The  paper  started  under  most  favor- 
able and  promising  circumstances,  but  just  as 
its  promise  seemed  fairest,  the  office  and  con- 
tents burned  to  the  ground,  and  to  add  to  ita 
calamities  there  was  no  insurance  on  the  con- 
cern. This  fire  occurred  in  December,  1868, 
when  the  establishment  was  only  a  little  more 
than  a  month  old.  An  entire  new  outfit  was 
immediatel}'  procured  and  the  publication  re- 
sumed, and  is  to  this  day  still  a  daily  morning 
paper. 

The  reader  can  hardly  imagine  what  a  joy 
and  relief  it  is  to  at  last  come  to  one  in  the 
long  line  that  is  alive,  prosperous  and  happy. 
The  long  preceding  list  is  so  much  like  a  call- 
ing the  roll  of  the  dead,  that  the  change  from 
the  funeral  to  the  festival  is  inexpressibly 
pleasant. 

Mr.  Oberly  and  Harrell  continued  to  push 
the  paper  successfull}-  for  some  years.  Its 
job  department  had  grown  to  large  proportions 
and  eventual!}'  promised  to  support  well  the 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


187 


newspaper  part  of  the  establishment,  but  in 
1878,  matters  began  to  grow  perplexed  and 
embarrassments  began  to  beset  the  institution. 
Among  other  calamities,  the  3'ellow  fever  had 
visited  the  town  and  all  business  was  pros- 
trate. 

About  this  time  the  arrangements  were  made 
to  lease  the  office  to  Mr.  Burnett,  the  present 
proprietor.  This  took  effect  Jul}-,  1878,  and 
it  is  probable  the  absolute  stoppage  of  the 
paper  was  thus  avoided.  Mr.  Burnett  con- 
tinued as  lessee  until  January  1,  1881,  when 
b}'  purchase  he  became  the  absolute  and  sole 
owner,  in  which  position  he  has  not  onh'  been 
able  to  make  the  paper  self-sustaining,  but  has 
so  carefully  attended  to  matters  that  it  is  rapid- 
1)-  becoming  a  first-class  paying  propert}-. 

Mr.  Burnett  has  worked  his  wa}-  from  "in 
charge  of  the  circulation."  in  March,  1868,  to 
that  of  sole  owner  and  proprietor.  For  two 
years  he  was  book-keeper,  and  was  then  made 
general  manager.  This  position  he  held  until 
1867,  when  he  left  the  office  and  took  employ- 
ment in  the  Illinois  Central  Railroad  office,  in 
this  cit}-,  where  he  remained  about  eighteen 
months.  He  then  returned  to  the  office  of  the 
Bulletin  as  lessee.  The  first  3-ear's  earnings  of 
the  institution  were  slightl}'  in  excess  of  ex- 
penses, even  after  deducting  considerable 
necessar}'  additional  materials ;  the  second 
year  was  not  so  good,  but  by  this  time  Mr. 
Burnett  had  so  systematized  matters  that  it 
has  been  eas}*  sailing  in  placid  waters  since. 
It  is  located  on  the  levee  in  the  proprietor's  own 
building,  and  the  constant  additions  and  im- 
provements being  added  will  soon  make  it  one 
of  the  leading  solid  institutions  of  the  kind  in 
the  countr}-. 

The  first  few  years  after  Mr.  Burnett  took 
control  of  the  Bulletin,  it  was  edited  by  M.  B. 
Harrell,  and.  when  the  latter  went  to  Chicago, 
the   editorial    work    was   done    by  Mr.    Ernst  i 
Theilecke,  who  was  connected  with  the  office  i 
for  a  long  time.     Mr.  Theilecke  is  now  in  Lock-  1 


haven,  Penn.,  and   occupying  much   the   same 
position  there  that  he  did  here. 

The  present  local  and  assistant  writer  upon  the 
Bulletin  is  Mr.  E.  W.  Theilecke,  who  has  oc- 
cupied his  present  place  the  last  two  years. 
He  is  quite  a  young  man,  who  gives  ever}-  evi- 
dence of  usefulness  and  ability. 

In  as  few  words  as  we  could  possibly  make 
it,  this  is  history  of  one  of  the  very  few  success- 
ful papers  of  the  many  started  in  Cairo.  It 
leaves  this  as  a  demonstration  and  conclusion  : 
When  the  papers  of  Cairo  eventually  come  in- 
to exactly  the  right  hands,  they  then,  and  then 
only,  become  permanent  and  valuable  institu- 
tions. 

Cairo  Sun — A  weekly  Republican  paper, 
started  by  D.  L.  Davis  in  1869.  After  running 
it  a  few  months  as  a  weekly,  it  took  the  form 
of  a  daily  paper,  and  in  this  shape  in  a  short 
time  was  sold  by  Mr.  Davis  to  the  Joy  Bros., 
who  continued  the  publication  until  January  1, 
1881,  when,  for  some  reason  best  known  to  the 
publishers,  they  voluntarily  killed  off  the  Sun 
and  started  a  new  paper,  the  News,  which 
worked  along  in  fair  weather  and  in  foul  just 
one  year,  and  ceased  to  exist  January  1,  1882. 

Radical  Republican — Its  name  indicates  its 
political  proclivities,  was  issued  for  a  short 
time  from  the  Sun  office.  Its  publisher  was 
Louis  L.  Davis.  It  never  had  much  vitality, 
and  perished  in  1880. 

The  Three  States — Colored ;  politics  un- 
known.    Died  February,  1883. 

Gazette — Colored  ;  W.  T.  Scott,  proprietor 
and  publisher.  A  weekly  paper  that  is  one  of 
the  few  that  has  not  ceased  to  exist. 

Thr  Camp  Register — A  dail}-  sheet  for  sol- 
diers raostl}-.  Was  published  during  May, 
June  and  Jul}-,  1861. 

2'he  Daily  Dramatic  News — Was  puljlished  by 
H.  L.  Goodall  during  the  winter  of  1864-65  in 
the  interests  of  Crump  &  Co.,  the  builders  and 
first  proprietors  of  the  Cairo  Athen^um. 

Cairo  Paper — A  vigorous  and  able  Demo- 


138 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


cratic  paper,  established  by  M.  B.  Harrell  in 
1871.  Not  liking  the  name,  he  changed  it  in  a 
short  time  to  Cairo  Gazette,  and  thus  returned 
to  his  first  love  in  the  Cairo  papers.  In  this 
style  the  publication  was  continued  until  1876, 
when  it  was  sold  by  the  proprietor  and  moved 
to  Clinton,  Ky. 

Cairo  Daily  ^r^us— Independent  daily  pa- 
per, by  H.  F.  Potter,  publisher,  and  Walt  F. 
McKee,  editor.     Was  first  issued  in  its  present 
form   November    15,   1878.     Seventeen   years 
ago,  Mr.  Potter  took  possession  as  owner  and 
publisher  of  the  Mound   City  Journal,  which 
he  has  conducted  from  that  day  to  this  success- 
fully.    Eight  years  ago,  deeming  his  old  fields 
of    operations   somewhat    circumscribed,    and 
looking  about  for  an  opportunity  to  enlarge 
them,  he  conceived  the  happy  idea  of  a  combi- 
nation of  Cairo  and  Mound  City  interests,  and 
so  he  issued  the  Cairo  Argus  and  Mound  City 
Journal,  the  work  being  done  at  the  commence- 
ment in  the  Mound  City  office,  with  a  local 
agent  and  office  in  Cairo,  but  no  printing  mate- 
rial in  Cairo.     In  one  year  after  starting  this 
enterprise  he  moved  his  office  to  Cairo,  and 
continued  the  publication,  simply  reversing  the 
local   office  and  the  printing  office   as  to  their 
places.     After  the  office  was  in  Cairo  a  few 
months,  the  title  of  the  paper  was  changed  into 
the  Argus- Journal,  and  was  still  issued  at  Cairo 
and   Mound    City    weekly.     Then,    as    above 
stated,  in  1878,  November  15,  he  issued  directly 
the  Cairo  Daily  Argus,  and  still  continues  to 
publish  the  Mound  City  Journal,  which,  upon 
the  appearance'  of  the  Daily  Argus,  resumed  its 
old  name,  and,  certainly,  a  very  high  compliment 
to  Mr.  Potter's  foresight,  the  Journal,  through 
all  its  marrying  and  journeyings,  retains  every 
one  of  its  old  Pulaski  County  friends,  and  at 
the  same  time  had  so  managed  its  Cairo  patrons 
to  the  weekly  paper  that  when  tlie  daily  was 
started  it  already  had  its  subscription  list  made 
up.     3Ir.  Potter's  past  experience,  his   good, 
strong  judgment,  his  energy  and  faithfulness  to 


his  business,  and  his  known  integrity,  deserve 
an  ever-increasing  success  in  his  venture  into 
a  field  where  so  many,  so  bright  and  so  worth}' 
have  heretofore  nearly  one  and  all  completelj' 
failed.  He  well  understood  all  these  failures 
before  he  looked  toward  Cairo  as  a  field  of 
operations.  He  had  known  Cairo  as  well  dailv 
for  the  past  twenty  years  as  though  he  had 
been  a  citizen  during  all  that  time.  He  knew, 
personally,  all  of  these  men,  and  had  watched 
their  wrecking,  and,  doubtless,  it  is  well  for  him 
he  had  the  benefit  of  others'  sad  experience,  as 
it  enabled  him  to  la}'  his  plans  the  better,  and 
the  caution  he  has  displayed  when  he  was  eight 
long  years  in  reaching  the  point  of  having  a 
daily  paper  in  Cairo  shows  a  species  of  method, 
determination,  sound  judgment  and  persistence 
of  purpose  that  is  certainly  a  sufficient  guaran- 
tee to  the  people  of  Cairo  that  they  need  not 
hesitate  a  moment  in  giving  his  concern  their 
fullest  confidence.  We  mean  by  all  this  that 
they  need  not  fear  to  trust  the  man  or  his  busi- 
ness, and  they  need  not  be  influenced  by  the 
many  failures  in  the  lives  of  paper  ])ublications 
they  have  seen,  and,  therefore,  class  the  Daily 
Argus  as  being  only  another  one  that,  in  a  short 
time,  is  to  follow  in  the  already  beaten  ti*ack  of 
the  many. 

His  selection  of  an  assistant  and  editor  has 
been  equally  fortunate  with  his  other  move- 
ments in  the  establishment  upon  a  permanent 
basis  of  his  paper.  We  refer,  of  course,  to 
Walt  F.  McKee,  than  whom  no  more  reliable 
man  lives.  He  has  resided  in  Cairo  since  boy- 
hood, and  during  nearly  all  that  time  has  oc- 
cupied responsible  and  confidential  positions 
for  organizations  and  institutions,  which  are 
known  to  give  trust  only  to  the  most  trust- 
worthy. Mr.  McKee  entered  the  office  of  the 
Argus  with  but  a  limited  knowledge  of  the  bus- 
iness, but  as  his  employer  foresaw  he  would 
learn,  and  he  has  learned  until  to-day  he  is 
quite  as  well  informed  of  the  duties  of  his 
position  as  are  those  who  consider  themselves 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


139 


the  par  excellence  leaders  and  teachers  in  this 
most  tr3ing  and  arduous  profession. 

We  gladly  dismiss  this  long  column  of  dis- 
mal failures,  consisting  of  over  thirt}-  papers, 
onh'  three  of  which  are  now  living  to  gladden 
the  eyes  of  their  friends.  But  should  we  drop 
the  subject  and  pass  to  other  themes,  and  say 
no  more  than  we  have  said  of  the  men  who 
were  the  actors  and  doers  in  this  curious  news- 
paporial  world,  the  list  would  be  but  a  skeleton, 
and  not  a  pleasant  one  at  that. 

The  Bohemians. — We  confess  we  can  find  no 
other  word  under  which  we  can  group  the  au- 
thors, correspondents,  editors,  reporters  and 
contributors,  who  were  of  and  at  one  time  a 
part  of  Cairo,  so  well  as  the  one  we  have 
adopted.  Could  we  group  these  as  one  fair 
picture  and  show  the  people  who  it  is  that  has 
come  and  gone,  attracted  to  Cairo,  some  of 
them,  in  the  hunt  of  permanent  homes  and  bus- 
iness, others  brought  here  as  war  correspond- 
ents at  the  time  when  Cairo  was  the  great 
central  news  point  in  the  United  States,  others 
here  permanently  as  the  representatives  of 
man}-,  in  fact,  nearl}'  all  the  great  leading 
dail}-  papers  of  the  countr}-.  We  sa}',  had  we 
the  pen  and  the  necessarj-  facts  to  make  this 
gx'ouping,  the  people  would  rise  from  the  perusal 
amazed  if  not  delighted.  But  the  knowledge 
of  these  men  by  the  writer  of  these  lines  is 
imperfect,  as  some  of  them  he  never  knew,  and 
many  others,  whom  he  vividly  remembers  the 
faces  and  their  peculiar  cast  of  mind,  their 
names  have  passed  out  of  mind. 

The  first  man  nearly  in  point  of  time,  cer- 
tainly in  point  of  fame,  who  visited  Cairo  "  to 
write,"  was  Charles  Dickens.  He  was  here  in 
18-lr2.  He  took  his  notes,  went  home  and  wrote 
JIartin  Chuzzlewit.  So  far  as  his  attempt  to 
describe  Cairo  itself  is  concerned  it  is  like 
everything  else  Dickens  wrote — fiction.  But 
there  are  some  things  he  said  he  saw  here  that 
can  hardly  be  in  his  usual  strain  of  extrava- 
gance.    For  instance,  any  old  settler  can  tell 


you  that  the  first  crash  in  Cairo  had  come  be- 
fore Dickens'  visit  and  that  like  a  stricken  city 
the  decimation  of  people  from  2,000  to  less 
than  fift}-  had  come  like  a  cyclone  from  a  cloud- 
less sky.  The  historian,  too,  has  no  hesitation 
in  telling  you  that  the  few  left  could  not  oc- 
cup3'  the  houses,  and  that  when  the  canal  com- 
pan}-  failed  they  were  left  with  almost  nothing 
to  do.  Still  there  is  scarcel}-  a  doubt  that  no 
matter  how  bad  Dickens  found  matters,  his  pen 
would  have  been  palsied  if  he  had  not  "  lied 
just  a  little."  The  writer  has  not  seen  the 
work  in  which  he  tells  how  Mark  Tapley  visited 
Cairo  and  had  the  ague,  and  how  he  and  his 
companion  were  visited  by  the  leadnig  politi- 
cian and  stump  speakers  of  Southern  Illinois  ; 
how  the  stump  speaker  talked  in  the  '•  Home- 
in-the-Settin'-Sun  "  st3'le,  and  then  spit  over  the 
prosti'ate  Martin,  at  a  crack  in  the  floor  ten 
feet  awa}'  and  hit  the  crack,  and  assured  him  he 
might  lie  easy  on  his  blanket,  as  he  would  not 
spit  on  him,  etc.,  etc.  When  we  read  all  this 
rather  coarse  kind  of  stuif  as  a  boy,  we  thoi^ght 
it  rather  smart  and  funn}'.  Mark  and  his  friend, 
it  seems,  came  to  Cairo  in  order  to  have  the 
chills — all  the  way  from  England.  A  long  dis- 
tance to  come  for  what  they  could  have  pro- 
cured a  much  stronger  article  of  thousands  of 
miles  nearer  home.  But  the}'  were  here  for 
that  purpose,  says  the  veracious  author,  and 
while  here  they  described  the  kind  of  acquaint- 
ances they  associated  with  and  formed.  Now 
any  Cairoite  can  to-day  go  to  London  and  find, 
if  his  tastes  so  run,  an  infinitely  worse  crowd, 
more  vile,  more  squalid,  dirtier,  and  in  short 
the  very  abomination  and  indescribable  dregs 
of  humanity.  What  a  traveler's  eyes  sees  de- 
pends upon  the  traveler,  much  more  than  on 
what  is  spread  before  him,  panorama-like  as 
he  moves  along.  Out  of  all  the  Southern  Illi- 
nois and  Cairo  people  the  traveler  met  and 
associated  with  here,  there  is  not  the  picture  of 
one  that  any  here  would  read  and  say  that  is 
so-and-so.  even  Maj.  Challop,  the  Home-iu-the- 


140 


HISTOEY  OF  CAIRO. 


Settin'-Sun  fellow,  the  leading  politician  with 
whoin  the  travelers  conversed  in  a  very 
idiotic  fashion  ou  Grovernment,  is  an  unrec- 
ognizable, not  known  to  a  living  soul ;  but  when 
the  traveler  walked  ashore  and  describes  the 
empty  building  (the}'  were  certainly  here  in 
1842),  and  says  "  the  most  abject  and  forlorn 
among  them  was  called,  with  great  propriety, 
the  Bank  and  National  Credit  Office.  It  had 
some  feeble  props  about  it,  but  was  settling 
deep  down  in  the  mud.  past  all  recover}'." 
That  is  not  a  very  extravagant  picture  of  the 
real  case  of  Holbrook's  bank  and  where  it  went 
to.  So  deeply  was  that  South  Sea  Bubble  hur- 
ried, exploded  or  evaporated,  about  the  very 
time  Dickens  penned  these  lines,  that  its  ghost 
has  never  been  seen  even  in  the  region  or  at 
the  hour  when  "  graveyards  yawn."  And  if 
Dickens  was  right  about  its  settling  in  the  mud 
and  ooze,  so  be  it.  One  thing  is  certain,  this 
is  the  only  real  account  of  what  did  ever  be- 
come of  that  enormous  swindle. 

The  man  next  in  order,  and,  perhaps,  the 
next  in  celebrity,  who  was  at  one  time  a  tempo- 
rary resident  of  Cairo,  was  W.  H.  Russell,  bet- 
ter known  all  over  this  country  as  Bull  Bun 
Bussell,  the  celebrated  war  correspondent  of 
the  London  Times.  He  was  stationed  here  in 
1861.  and  because  he  was  an  Englishman,  or 
because  he  represented  the  far-off  London 
Times,  or  because  this  country  just  at  that  time 
was  deeply  engaged  in  playing  sycophant  for 
fear  of  the  growl  of  the  English  lion,  or  may- 
hap for  all  these  reasons  combined,  our  mast- 
fed  military  commanders  in  and  about  Cairo 
were  doing  the  very  best  toadying  to  this  John 
Bull  that  they  could  conceive  of.  They  must 
have  supposed  that  Bull  Bun  would  write  to 
the  Queen,  and  especially  mention  the  fact  that 
Colonel  or  General  So-and-so  was  a  great  friend 
of  England,  and  the  only  way  to  keep  him  in  a 
good  humor  and  prevent  his  getting  "  mad " 
and  eventually  eating  Britain's  Isle,  would  be  to 
recosfnize  him  or  the  United  States,  or  both,  and 


not  to  recognize  Jeff  Davis,  who  was  all  the 
time  hanging  on  a  "  sour  apple  tree."  For  all 
this  coarse,  clumsy,  and  rather  disgusting  syco- 
phancy, Bussell  wrote  to  the  London  Times 
fairly  taking  the  hide  off  these  fellows,  describ- 
ing them,  giving  the  names  of  many  of  the 
most  prominent,  as  coarse,  vulgar,  ignorant 
louts,  who  smelt  of  the  stables,  even  through 
all  their  new,  cheap  tinsel  and  military  toggery. 
He  criticized  unmercifully,  and,  no  doubt, 
justly,  their  display  of  military  knowledge  in 
every  department.  In  the  high  privates  of  the 
army  he  thought  he  could  plainly  see  the  germ 
from  which  a  strong  army  might  be  made,  but 
evidently  in  the  commanders  he  could  not 
speak  of  them  without  thinking  of  the  toady- 
ing they  had  just  been  giving  him,  and  his 
patience  was  at  once  goue. 

As  to  the  uatives,  or  the  home  talent,  or 
the  native  casual  Cairoites,  we  may  divide 
them,  for  convenience'  sake,  into  the  two  fol- 
lowing natural  divisions:  the  ante-bellum 
crowd,  and  then  the  remainder  to  the  pres- 
ent day. 

And  of  the  first,  we  may  designate  M.  B. 
Harrell,  L.  G.  Faxon  and  Ed  Willett  as  the 
three  names  that  always  come  to  the  lips 
when  speaking  of  the  early  newspapers. 
Certainly,  three  more  distinct  characters,  in 
the  same  line  or  profession,  never  met.  They 
may  be  said  to  have  practically  been  here 
together  from  the  veiy  first,  and  of  all  these, 
Harrell,  so  far  as  we  can  learn,  was  here  some 
time  before  the  other  two  were.  He  must 
have  been  here  early  in  the  "  forties."  His 
brother,  Bailey  Harrell,  was  one  of  the  very 
earliest  leading  merchants  here,  and  "Mose," 
as  he  is  more  widely  known  than  by  any  other 
designation,  was,  perhaps,  a  boy  about  his 
brother's  store  when  he  was  quite  young,  and 
it  is  reasonable  to  suppose  that  he  took  his 
first  lessons  in  composition  in  copying  or 
finally  writing  advertisements  for  the  store. 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


141 


We  only  claim  to  be  guessing  at  all  this,  but 
if  here  was  where  he  got  his  education,  then 
he  went  to  a  school  that  has  been  seldom 
equalled.  In  the  old  files  of  a  Cairo  j)aper, 
we  find  an  advertisement  of  B.  S.  Harrell's 
store,  and  the  whole  thing  convinces  us  that 
either  Mose  or  Bailey  wrote  it. 

There  were  biit  two  merchants  here,  rivals, 
and  both  doing  business  under  the  same  roof. 
One  was  a  Yankee,  the  other  Harrell.  The 
Yankee  brought  on  a  lai'ge  stock,  and  adver- 
tised in  the  Cairo  Delta,  that  he  had  bought 
his  stock  for  cash,  and  could,  therefore,  sell 
lower  by  far  than  any  one  else.  In  the  very 
next  paper,  Harrell's  advertisement  appeared, 
in  these  words:  "Now,  these  goods  I  can  and 
will  sell  lower  than  my  competitor,  for  the 
simple  reason  that  I  bought  them  all  on 
credit,  and  that,  too,  without  the  slightest 
intention  of  ever  paying  a  cent  for  them. " 

Mose  was  here  during  the  long  reign  of 
idleness,  when  the  whole  community  was 
given  over  to  practical  joking  and  fun  of  all 
kinds.  He  was  the  first  telegi'aph  operator, 
when  but  a  single  wire  stretched  its  way  to 
this  then  outside  of  the  telegraphic  world. 
He  says  he  was  at  last  relieved  from  the  ar- 
duous duties  of  receiving  the  two  or  three 
dispatchs  that  sometimes  came  daily,  "  for 
shutting  up  the  office"  and  going  courting 
one  night.  It  is  much  more  probable  tha^ 
he  was  discharged  for  some  of  his  pranks,  of 
which  his  supply  was  inexhaustible,  as  the 
following  specimen  may  show:  A  boat  had 
landed  on  its  way  fi'om  New  Orleans  to  St. 
Louis.  Among  the  many  deck  passengers  who 
sought  the  top  of  the  levee  for  supplies, 
bread,  bologna,  etc.,  was  one  poor  fellow 
whom  the  boat  left.  He  had  failed  to  reach 
the  wharf  in  time  to  get  aboard.  He  was  in 
sore  distress;  his  family  were  on  board  the 
boat,  and  what  would  he  do?  Mose,  of 
course,    met   him    like   a   good    Samaritan; 


showed  him  the  wire  and  the  poles,  and  ex- 
plained that  it  was  made  on  purpose  to  send 
things  to  St.  Louis.  The  institution  was 
new  then,  and  little  understood.  The  man 
listened,  and  begged  Mose  to  send  him  on  at 
once.  Mose  explained  to  him  how  he  would 
have  to  jump  at  each  pole,  and  the  man 
thought  he  could  do  it.  The  dupe  was  then 
prepared  for  the  trip  by  his  friend.  The 
bread,  cheese,  bologna,  etc.,  were  made  into 
a  pack  and  carefully  tied  upon  ,his  back. 
The  telegraph-climbers  were  placed  upon  his 
feet,  in  order  that  he  might  climb  to  the  wire 
and  get  on.  But  for  the  life  of  him  he 
could  not  climb  the  pole;  he  worked  by  the 
hour,  sometimes  digging  into  the  pole  and 
sometimes  in  his  own  legs,  and  only  from 
sheer  exhaustion  did  he  finally  give  up  in 
despair.  Mose  then  told  him  to  go  up  town 
and  find  Corcoran,  who  was  the  keeper  of  the 
ladder  that  was  used  by  the  ladies  .to  climb 
with  when  they  wanted  to  travel  by  tele- 
graph. The  poor  fellow  hunted  until  he 
found  Corcoran,  and  told  him  what  he 
wanted.  He  was  informed  that  the  ladder 
had  been  broken  the  day  befoi-e  by  Barnum's 
fat  woman  going  up  on  it,  and  finally  per- 
suaded the  dupe  that  the  wire  was  considered 
dangerous  ever  since  the  fat  woman  and  her 
seven  Saratoga  trunks  had  passed  over  it, 
and  that  he  had  probably  better  wait  until 
another  boat  came  along,  and  then  he  could 
go  to  St.  Louis  in  peace  and  safety. 

Mound  City  at  one  time — very  foolish  it 
all  now  looks — concluded  to  rival  Cairo,  not 
rival,  but  simply  distance  and  build  all  the 
great  city  up  there.  They  probably  found 
some  man,  as  Cairo  found  Holbrook,  and  at 
it  they  went,  spending  money  x'ight  and  left 
at  an  immense  rate.  \Vhoever  was  running 
Mound  City  was  smarter  than  the  one  that 
ran  Cairo,  because,  as  soon  as  matters  were 
under  full  'headway,  he   imported  a   news- 


143 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


paper  outfit,  came  to  Cairo,  and  hired  M.  B. 
HaiTell  at  a  big  salary  to  go  up  there  and 
abuse  Cairo.  Although  the  salary  was  large, 
Harrell  earned  every  dollar,  and  more  too; 
for  instance: 

"  We  attended  a  meeting  of  the  Cairo  City 
Council  Monday  night.  The  room  being 
well  warmed,  and  a  bottle  of  Fair's  Ague 
Tonic  being  provided  for  each  Alderman, 
and  an  ounce  of  quinine  for  the  Board  gen- 
erally (from  which  the  Clerk  would  occasion- 
ally take  a  spoonful).  The  fever  and  ague  by 
which  the  majority  were  at  the  tiiue  afflicted, 
interfered  only  immaterially  with  the  buoi- 
ness.  If  anybody  wants  to  see  'great  shakes, ' 
let  'em  attend  a  Cairo  Council  meeting." 

Or  this : 

"  The  Cairoites,  in  imitation  of  the  Yankee 
at  sea,  have  provided  themselves  with  a  good 
supply  of  soap,  so  that,  if  the  river  over- 
whelms them,  they  can  wash  themselves 
ashore.  If  they  should  be  compelled  to  use 
it,  the  town  of  Columbus,  just  below,  would 
be  overflowed  by  an  awful  nasty  sea  of  soap- 
suds." 

Or  again: 

"  A  fire  company  has  been  organized  at 
Cairo,  and  where's  the  necessity  for  it  ?  In 
case  of  a  fire,  just  let  them  knock  the  plugs 
out  of  the  levee  sewers,  and  the  river  water 
will  fly  all  over  the  village." 

Cairo  employed  Faxon  to  stand  in  front  of 
these  projectiles,  and  do  the  best  he  could  to 
defend  Cairo,  but  this  all  only  resulted  in  the 
two  rival  towns  coming  out  like  the  Kilkenny 
cats,  only  so  much  the  worse  that  there  evi- 
dently was  not  so  much  as  the  bob-end  of  a 
tail  left  to  either.  It  was  all  quite  comical 
at  the  time,  and  no  doubt  the  people  of  the 
two  towns  looked  forward  eagerly  each  week 
to  see  what  next  was  coming.  The  serious 
side  of  the  story  was,  that  often  the  worst  of 
these  squibs  were  taken  up    and  reprinted 


over  the  North,  as  true  pictures  of  Cairo  and 
Mound  City,  as  drawn  by  their  own  people. 
Up  to  the  war,  this  trio,  Harrell,  Faxon  and 
Willett,  were  the  Cairo  and  Mound  City 
editors.  They  started  papers,  changed  sides, 
and  bobbed  around,  but  it  was  one  contin- 
uous circle,  and  generally  all  on  the  Cairo 
press,  and  they  seem  to  have  indulged,  to 
their  hearts'  content,  in  lampooning  each 
other  and  each  other's  towns,  when  they  hap- 
pened to  be  in  dififerent  villages. 

The  compositors  of  that  day  seemed  to 
deem  it  a  duty  devolving  upon  them  to  fur- 
nish their  full  quota  of  unaccountable  human 
beings.  They  had  probably  caught  the  in- 
fection fi'om  ^either  Willett,  Faxon  or  Har- 
rell.     A  few  specimens: 

A  printer  who  worked  here  as  early  as 
1848,  was  said  to  have  been  the  fastest  hand- 
pressman  of  his  time  in  the  United  States. 
He  was  said  to  have  worked  off  800  impres- 
sion of  a  sheet  24x36,  on  a  Washington 
hand- press,  in  two  hours  and  twenty  minutes. 
This  was  equivalent  to  an  impression  every 
ten  and  two-fifths  seconds.  It  is  probably 
well  there  were  no  other  such  pressmen,  or 
there  would  never  have  arisen  the  necessity 
fur  the  perfected  Hoe  press. 

A  compositor  in  the  Sun  office  in  Cairo,  in 
1850,  named  Frank  Urguhart,  could  set  15,  - 
000  long  primer  and  brevier  in  ten  hours, 
and  always  got  roaring  drunk  after  supper, 
but  would  appear  at  his  case  as  usual  the 
next  morning,  ready  to  do  as  big  a  day's 
work  as  ever.  He  was  wholly  worthless, 
however.  He  married  a  Cairo  girl  in  a  short 
time  after  he  came  here,  lived  with  her  two 
weeks,  then  abandoned  her  and  has  never 
been  heard  of  since. 

E.  F.  Walker  a  compositor  who  worked 
immediately  before  and  during  the  early 
years  of  the  war,  was  quite  a  character. 
For  six  months  or   more  he  was   planning  a 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


143 


week's  hunt    in    the    neighboring   woods   of 
Missouri.       Practicing    great    economy,    he 
finally   fonnd  himself  the  possessor  of    $80. 
He  bought  a  $1.50  shot-gun,  four  ounces  of 
powder  and  a  pound  of  shot.      He  then  sup- 
plie<l  his  commissai'y  department  with  a  half- 
dozen   pigs'    feet,  a   pound  of   crackers,  two 
gallons    of   whisky,    a   horse-blanket    and  a 
second-hand   wheelbaiTow.     Thus   equipped, 
on  the  morning  of  July  4,  1862,  he  bade  the 
office   boys   good-bye,    and    started    for   the 
ferry-boat.      He  halted  his  wheelbarrow  be- 
fore every   saloon  on   the  jlevee,    stepped  in 
to  take  a  drink  and  bid  the  boys  good-bye. 
The    ensuing    night,    he    tumbled   into   the 
office,    drunk   as  a  lord,   swearing  he  could 
not  get  oflF,  because  the  fenyboat  I'efused  to 
cany  his  ammunition !    Nest  morning,  he  and 
his     wheelbarrow    were    again    making   the 
rounds  of  the  levee.     The  day  again   closed 
on  a  drunken  Walker.     He   explained  that 
the  ferry-boat  multiplied  itself  so  often,  and 
ran  in  so  many  different    directions,  he  was 
afraid  he  might  take  the  wrong  boat  and  lose 
his  wheelbarrow.     On  the  third  day,  he   got 
drunk   again,  but,  to  .the  end  that  he  might 
start  early  and  sober,  he   slept  all   night  on 
the  wharf  in  his    wheelbarrow.     The  fourth 
and  fifth  days  were  a   repetition  of  his  first 
and  second,  but  on  the   seventh  day  he  kept 
himself  drunk  all  day  and  all  night,  waiting, 
he  said,  for  the   arrival  of   a   ferry-boat  that 
was  not  given  to  the  insane  habit  of  running 
'  sideways.  '       Early  on  the  morning  of  'the 
eighth  day,  he  happened  to   leave  his  wheel- 
barrow and  accouterments  unguarded     Re- 
turning to  search  for  them,  they  were  not  to 
be  found.     Ed    Willett   had    triindled  them 
across    the  wharf  boat,  and  to  this   day  they 
lie  on  the  bottom  of   the  Ohio  Eiver,  where 
he  dumped  them.     Walker,  having  only  40 
cents  of  his  $80  left,  couldn't  secure  another 
outfit,  sobered  up,  and  returned  to  his  case  I 


again.  He  was  abundantly  satisfied  with  re- 
sults, however,  and  always  afterward,  when 
speaking  of  festive  occasions,  would  Jdeclare 
his  '  great  seven  days'  hunt  in  the  Missom-i 
bottoms '  the  happiest  interval  of  his  exist- 
ence. AValker  was  a  congenial  soul;  some- 
what en-atic,  but  always  harmless.  He  has 
long  since  passed  over  to  the  happy  hunting 
ground,  for  the  full  enjoyment  of  which,  it  is 
quite  apparent,  he  was  only  preparing  him- 
self in  his  great  hunt  here. 

In  the  early  days  of  the  war,  Jimmy 
Stockton,  afterward  editor  of  the  Grand 
Tower  Item,  was  a  compositor  in  M.  B.  Har- 
rell's  Gazette  office.  At  the  time  the  officer 
in  command  of  the  post  in  Cairo  had  tried 
to  suppress  the  Gazette,  and  had  ordered  the 
editor  to  submit  all  matter  to  him  (a  full  ac- 
count of  Avhich  we  give  in  another  column), 
and  the  way  Hai-rell  got  around  the  dilem- 
ma, so  tickled  poor  Stockton,  that  he  got 
more  than  glorious.  He  had  spent  the  even- 
ing at  Dr.  Jim  McGuire's,  and  had  repaired 
to  his  room  rather  late,  which  was  on  the 
fourth  floor,  just  above  the  composition 
room. 

The  printers  reported  the  following  cir- 
cumstances: About  11  o'clock  at  night,  a 
compositor,  working  at  his  case,  heard  a 
whiz,  and  saw  a  dark  object  flit  past  his  win- 
dow, which  was  in  the  thii-d  story.  Hasten- 
ing down  stairs  to  see  what  had  happened, 
what  was  his  amazement  to  find  Jimmy 
Stockton,  stretched  at  full  length  on  the  top 
of  a  pile  of  empty  barrels,  and  sound 
asleep!  While  leaning  out  of  the  fourth 
story  window,  he  had  lost  his  balance;  fall- 
ing a  distance  of  about  twenty  feet,  he  struck 
the  roof  of  a  two-story  addition,  and  rolling 
off,  alighted  on  the  barrels  and  went  to  sleep. 
But  for  his  limberness,  he  would  have  been 
crushed  to  a  pulp,  but  no  serious  injury  was 
sustained.     "Well,  now,  do  you  know,"  said 


144 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


Jimmy,  when  the  boys  had  finally  aroused 
him  and  got  him  down  off  the  barrels,  "  that 
I  di-eamed  I  was  on  top  of  a  tall  ladder;  that 
a  sow  uptripped  it— and  now  I  come  to  think 
of  it,  it  wasn't  all  a  dream,  boys!  but  where's 
that sow — and  the  ladder?" 

The  fever  of  life  has  passed  with  poor 
Stockton,  and"  to  those  who  knew  him  best, 
the  memory  of  his  big  heart  and  warm  soul 
will  always  come  sunshiny  throughout  their 
lives. 

It  was  poor  old  Sam  Hart,  peace  to  his  re- 
mains,  who   was  hard   of  hearing,  and   was 
always  imagining,  when  he  could  not   hear 
what  was    being  said,  that  the   other  boys 
were  talking  about  him,  and  over  this  he  was 
in  constant  hot  water.     He  was  getting  old, 
and  was  very  nervous  and  sometimes  peevish. 
He  would    imagine   more  than  enough,    but 
then  the  others,  perceiving  his  oddities,  would 
constantly  add   to  his  sources  of  worry  and 
vexation.    Matters  finally  culminated  in  Hart 
making  up  his  mind  absolutely  to  challenge 
to  the  death  Joe  "Wiley,  as  he  appeared  to  be 
about   the  worst,  and  was  the   fittest,  in  the 
old  man's  estimation,  for  an  example.     He 
called  upon  his  friend,  another  'printer,  and 
told  him  his  unalterable  resolution,  and  re- 
quested his  assistance.     This  was  promptly 
given,  and  all  the  minutiae  arranged  for  the 
combat,  which  was  to  take  place  just  outside 
the  Mississippi   levee  after  sundown.     Two 
immense  horse- pistols  were  procured,  and  the 
parties  were  to  repair  to  the  spot  in  a"  state 
of  scatteredness,  for  fear  of   drawing  the  at- 
tention of   the  polic^e.     It  seems  all  were  in 
the    joke   except   poor   Hart.     Parties   were 
placed   for   the   fight,  and   Hart  was  awful 
nervous,  and   he  told  j^his  friend  he  expected 
his  time  had  come.     AVhen  the  weapons  were 
handed   them,   it   was   with    difficulty   Hart 
could   hold   his  in  both    his  hands,  so   very 
nervous  had  he  become.     They  were  ordered 


to  stand  and  await  orders  to  fire,  but  Hart 
knew  ^he  could  not  hear  good,  and  so,  the 
moment  he  got  his,  he  raised  it  in  both 
hands  andblaz —  no,  snapped.  But  matters 
were  again  adjusted, 'and  he  was  told  he  must 
wait  for  the  word  to  fire.  The  pistol  was 
again  placed  in  his  hands,  and  again  he  pro- 
ceeded at  once  to  raise  it  with  both  hands, 
and  fi —  no,  snap  again,  and  he  dropped  the 
weapon  and  fled  for  life  toward  town.  He 
told  his  second  two  or  three  different  stories 
about  the  matter.  First,  he  was  positive 
there  was  a  general  conspiracy  to  mui'der 
him,  and,  second,  that  he  saw  the  police  com- 
ing, and  he  thought  it  all  great  foolishness, 
anyhow. 

But  of  the  trio  of  the  original  Cairo  journal- 
ists—Harrell,  Faxon  and  Willetfc.    It  is  diffi- 
cult to   di-aw  any  comparison  or  parallel  be- 
tween any  number  of  men,  all  of   whom  are 
wholly  unlike.    These  three  men  were  alike  in 
this  only — they  were  all  writers.       The  writer 
of  these  lines  never  knew  Willett  personally, 
yet,  in  some  way,  he  has  formed  the  opinion 
of  the  man,  to  the  effect  that  he  was  purely 
a   literary   man    in  his   nature,    and    always 
thought   his  chief   talent  was  as  a  poet,  and 
hence  he  wrote  poetry  for  pleasure,  and  as  a 
rule  it  turned  out  to  be  mere    doggerel,  but 
that,  upon  literary  subjects,  where  he  some- 
times  drove  his  pen   with  a  master's  hand, 
he  always  felt  he  was  a  mere  drudge,  debas- 
ino-  the  fine  horse  Pegasus  into  the  meanest 
of   dray  horses.     That  he  was  of   a  nervous, 
sensitive  turn  of  mind,  and  the  rough-and- 
tumble  bouts  that  Harrell  and  Faxon  some- 
times gave  him  nearly   killed  him.     Willett 
left  Cairo  before  or  during   the   very  early 
part  of  the  war,  and  is  said  now  to  be  on  the 
staff  of  the  New  York  Herald. 

Of  Faxon  we  know  more,  both  personally 
and  by  reading  his  writings.  His  pen 
bristled  like  the  "fretful  porcupine,"  and  he 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


145 


shot  the  pointed  quills  sometimes  in  every 
direction.  His  talents  were  good,  his  nature 
genial  and  full  of  sunshine.  He  is  living 
now  in  'Paducah,  Ky.,  as  stated  elsewhere, 
and  may  he  be  yet  spared  to  develop  fully  to 
the  world  what  we  believe  to  be  truly  in  him 
in  the  way  of  literary  talent. 

Of  M.  B.  Harrell  it  may  well  be  said,  there 
is  no  name  yet  so  impressed  upon  Cairo  and 
its  very  existence  as  his — its  mark  is,  every- 
where, and  must  co -exist  with  the  city.  After 
a  long  and  thorough  acquaintance  with  him, 
we  have  no  hesitation  in  pronouncing  him  of 
the  highest  order  of  talent  among  the  writers 
of  his  day.  Of  all  the  hosts  that  have  vent- 
ui'ed  their  editorial  fortunes  in  Cairo,  they 
found  Harrell  the  Nestor  when  they  came, 
and  they  left  him  in  undisputed  possession 
of  his  title  and  crown. 

Mr.  Harrell  came  to  Cairo  about  1845,  a 
mere  boy,  to  do  errands  about  his  brother's 
store  and  learn  to  be  a  clerk,  if  he  developed 
talent  enough  for  such  promotion.  His  in- 
stincts [took  him,  at  an  early  day,  to  the 
printing  office,  and  here  he  went  to  school, 
and  soon  mastered  the  business  to  that  ex- 
tent that  he  was  an  invaluable  part  of  the 
office.  "When  the  war  broke  out,  he  was 
editor  and  proprietor  of  the  Cairo  Gazette, 
and  quietly  continued  its  publication  after 
the  military  had  |taken  possession  of  Cairo. 

As  to  some  of  his  experiences  at  that 
time,  we  permit  IVIr.  Harrell  to  tell   himself: 

"  In  the  early  stages  of  the  war,  when 
nearly  every  prominent  Democrat  was  in  the 
Old  Capitol  Prison,  and  Logan  was  watched, 
and  suspicioned  Democratic  editors  in  Egypt 
had  a  rough  time  of  it.  I  was  seated  at  my 
desk  in  the  Gazette  office  one  morning,  when 
in  stalked  Col.  Buford,  attended  by  an  Ad- 
jutant, and  both  of  them  in  the  dangling, 
jangling  war  accouterments  in  which  showy 
warriors  were  wont  to  array  themselves.     '  Is 


the  editor  in  ?'  asked  the  Colonel,  in  a  tone 
of  voice  suggestive  of  hissing  bombs,  sword- 
whizzes  and  the  spluttering  of  fired  grenade 
fuzes.  'He  is^  sir,'  I  replied,  with  a  not- 
able tremor  of  voice;  'I  respond  to  that  de- 
signation. What  is  your  pleasui'e,  sir?'  'I 
have  this  to  say  to  you,  sir,  and  mark  me 
well,  that  there  may  be  no  misunderstanding. 
These  are  perilous  times,  sir;  we  have 
enemies  at  our  front,  sir,  and  more  cowardly 
ones  in  our  rear,  even  in  our  midst.  Upon 
these  latter  I  am  resolved  to  lay  a  strong 
hand.  1  have  to  say  to  you,  then,  that  if  you 
publish  anything  in  your  paper  that  shall 
tend  to  discourage  enlistments,  encourage 
desertions,  or  in  any  manner  reflect  upon  the 
war  policies  of  the  administration,  I  shall 
take  possession  of  youi-  office,  sir,  and  put 
you  in  irons.' 

"  '  I  beg  to  assure  you. '  I  replied,  as  soon 
as  I  could  command  composure  enough  to 
speak  at  ail,  '  I  feel  no  inclination  to  offend 
in  that  direction;  but  how  can  I  shape  my 
editorial  labors  so  as  to  have  a  guarantee  of 
your  approval ? ' 

"  '  Submit  your  matter  to  me,  sir.  If  I  find 
it  unobjectionable,  I'll  return  it;  otherwise, 
I'll  destroy  it.' 

"  Then,  with  the  bearing  of  a  Scipio — a 
'  see-the-conquering-herocomes '  gait  and 
caiTiage — the  Colonel  and  his  Adjutant  left 
the  office. 

"  The  next  day,  and  the  next,  and  the  day 
after  that,  I  laid  before  the  Colonel  a  great 
deal  more  selected  matter  than  I  had  pub- 
lished during  the  previous  quarter.  I  clipped 
columns  of  stuff  I  had  no  idea  of  pub- 
lishing; tore  several  leaves  from  the  Census 
Eetui-ns  of  1860;  levied  heavy  contributions 
from  the  stah.i  jokes  found  in  Ayers'  Al- 
manac; long  editorials  from  the  Si  Louis 
Rejjublican :  full  pages  from  De  Bow's  Sta- 
tistical Review  of  the  Southern  Cotton  Crop; 


146 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


'takes'  of  Ed  Willett's  newspaper  poetry, 
and  massive  rolls  of  matter  that  I  felt  certain 
nobody  ever  had  or  ever  could  read  without 
mental  retching,  and  all  this  stuff  I  '  respect- 
fully submitted  for  the  Colonel's  perusal  and 
approval.'  Palpable  as  they  were,  the  Col- 
onel, evidently,  did  not  '  tumble '  to  my  tac- 
tics. On  the  evenings  of  the  first  and 
second  days,  the  installments  were  duly  re- 
tiurned,  stamped  with  evidence  of  approval. 
On  the  evening  of  the  third  day,  the  roll  of 
copy  was  returned  unopened,  but  accompan- 
ied by  the  following  explanatory  and  ad- 
monitory note. 

"Editor  Oazette:  Finding  that  a  close  pre- 
supervision  of  the  contents  of  your  paper  involves 
an  expenditure  of  more  paper  and  labor  than  I  can 
bestow,  and  much  more  than  I  anticipated,  I  return 
to-day's  installment  unopened;  exercise  your  cus- 
tomary discretion  and  allow  the  latent  Unionism  in 
j'our  composition  to  assert  itself,  and  the  result,  I 
dare  say,  will  be  as  satisfactory  to  me  as  it  will  be 
creditable  to  j'^ourself . 

(Signed)  B. 

In  the  early  part  of  the  war,  Cairo  devel- 
oped to  be  just  what  its  very  first  discoverers 
foresaw,  namely,  that  in  case  of  war  it  would 
be  the  one  great,  important  strategic  point — 
the  key  to  all  the  military  movements  in  the 
vast  Mississippi  Valley.  Daniel  P.  Cook,  the 
Delegate  from  the  Territory  of  Illinois  in 
Congress,  and  who  framed  the  bill  for  its 
admission  as  a  State  into  the  Union,  based 
his  report  and  his  spepch  in  that  behalf, 
upon  the  peculiar  position  of  the  Territory, 
and  as  clearly  foretold,  as  did  the  Avar 
demonstrate,  that  Illinois  was  the  natiiral 
keystone  State  to  the  gi-eat  Northwest.  From 
the  early  part  of  1863  until  the  conclusion 
of  the  late  war,  the  whole  world  looked  with 
eager  interest  to  Cairo.  It  was  here  that  all 
eyes  turned,  in  the  hope  of  some  word  that 
would  decisively  settle  the  great  and  bloody 
questions  that  were  raging  so  fiercely. 

This  brought  here  a  swarm  of  correspond- 
ents, men  representing  at  one  time  nearly  every 


leading  paper  in  the  whole  country;  and  to 
give  some  idea  of  the  magnitude  of  the  in- 
crease of  news  that  was  fvumished  at  this 
point,  it  is  only  necessary  to  say  that  from 
four  to  six  telegraph  operators  were  found 
necessary,  and  that  often  and  often  the  news 
wires  were  doubled,  and  kept  busily  running 
night  and  day,  and  then  frequently  great 
rolls  of  copy  were  taken  from  the  hook  the 
next  day  that  it  was  impossible  to  pass  over 
the  wires  in  time  for  the  paper  to  go  to  press. 
The  writer  of  these  lines  well  remembers 
that  at  one  time  there  were  twenty-five  men 
here  who  represented  these  difierent  news- 
papers, and  whose  sole  business  was  to  allow 
nothing  to  escape  them,  and  send  it  by  light- 
ning dispatch  to  their  respective  papers. 
There  were  great  jealousies  and  rivalries 
among  the  different  representatives  of  rival 
papers.  A  correspondent  would  about  as 
soon  die  as  to  allow  his  rival,  or  anybody 
else,  to  get  up  a  "  scoop  "  on  him  while  he 
slept  or  closed  his  ears,  and  there  was  an 
equal  rivalry  among  the  respective  papers 
backing  each  one  of  them.  These  corre- 
spondents, many  of  them,  had  instructions  to 
spare  no  expense  in  getting  news.  "  If 
necessary  to  get  the  latest  and  important 
news,  charter  an  engine  or  a  steamboat,  and 
draw  on  this  office,"  was  substantially  [the 
instructions  that  several  of  these  news- 
gatherex-s  had.  It  was  the  correspondent 
who  failed  to  get  the  latest  important  news 
— no  matter  how  much  money  he  saved — who 
was  always  summarily  dismissed.  And  of 
course  at  that  time,  in  this  country,  the  New 
York  Herald  had  the  prestige  for  enterprise 
among  all  the  papers.  There  was  no  other 
institution  in  the  country  until  the  war,  that 
thought  it  worth  while  to  try  to  compete  with 
James  Gordon  Bennett;  but  the  war  brought 
much  change  iiere  as  well  as  in  other  things, 
and   made   many  papers   quite  as  daring   in 


I. 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


14-; 


enterprise  as  the  Herald.  One  of  the  pranks 
sometimes  played  by  correspondents  upon 
each  other,  was  to  race  for  the  telegraph 
office,  say  just  after  a  battle,  and  the  first 
one  who  got  the  wire,  by  the  rules  of  the 
office,  could  hold  it  until  his  'entire  dispatch 
was  sent.  They  would  thus  have  a  tremen- 
dous race  as  to  who  should  get  there  first, 
and  then  it  was  an  immense  joke  if  he  could 
hold  it  until,  say,  4  o'clock  next  morning, 
when  the  morning  jDapers  all  had  to  go  to 
press.  All  the  people  of  Cairo  will  remem- 
ber Frank  Chapman,  who  came  to  Cairo  as 
the  correspondent  of  the  New  York  Herald. 
This  story  was  told  of  him:  There  had  been 
a  battle,  and  it  was  ten  miles  away  to  the 
telegi-aph  office.  He  happened  to  be 
mounted  on  the  fastest  horse,  and  under  whip 
and  spur  started  as  soon  as  the  result  of  the 
fight  was  known.  He  was  followed  Jin  full 
chase  by  the  others,  and  it  was  a  break-neck 
race;  but  Chapman  got  there  first,  but  it  was 
only  by  a  few  moments;  in  short,  he  was  so 
closely  followed,  that  he  rushed  into  the 
office  (none  of  them  had  their  dispatches 
written  out  yet),  and  looking  about,  the  only 
thing  he  saw  was  a  copy  of  the  Bil)le  lying 
there.  He  seized  that;  opened  at  the  fiist 
chapter  of  Genesis,  and  hastily  with  his  pen- 
cil wrote  above  "  To  the  New  York  Herald" 
and  passing  it  to  the  operator,  said  simply, 
"  Send  that,"  and  then  sat  down  leisurely  to 
write  out  his  dispatch.  It  is  difficult  to 
imagine  what  must  have  been  the  thoughts 
of  the  news  editor  of  the  Herald,  when  the 
Bible  was  thus  being  fired  at  it  over  the 
wires,  as  it  came  chapter  after  chapter;  in  that 
regular  order  that  indicated  that  probably  the 
whole  book  was  behind.  But  when  Chapman 
had  written  out  his  account,  he  passed  that 
to  the  operator,  and  it  is  very  probable  the 
first  word  of  the  real    account  of   the  battle 


told  the  story  of  the  trick  to  the  New  York 
office. 

Poor  Frank  Chapman!  The  war  over,  he 
settled  down,  and  tried  to  make  a  livinc  in 
Cairo,  by  first  one  thing  and  then  another. 
He  organized  the  first  Cairo  Board  of  Trade, 
and  was  the  first  Secretary.  Most  unfortu- 
nately for  him  he  was  a  splendid  ventriloquist. 
In  1870,  he  went  to  Chicago,  and  there,  after 
long  suffering  and  great  privations,  died. 
The  Herald  had  here,  and  in  the  field  ad- 
jacent to  this  place,  at  one  time  or  another, 
a  dozen  or  more  different  correspondents. 
Among  them  the  writer  well  remembers  I.  N. 
Higgins,  now  the  editor  of  the  San  Francisco 
Morning  Call.  A  brilliant  writer,  and  one 
of  the  most  genial  fellows  in  the  world. 
Newt!  all  hail!  Another  member  of  the 
Herald  force  was  a  Mr.  Knox,  who  has  since 
traveled  pretty  much  all  over  the  world,  and 
published  several  books,  one  or  more  of 
which  were  written  for  the  edification  of  the 
youths  of  the  nation,  and  have  earned  a  wide 
and  solid  fame  for  him. 

Ralph  Kelly  was  the  Cairo  war  correspond- 
ent of  the  New  Orleans  Picayune ;  one  of  the 
most  deceiving  and  one  of  the  most  brilliant 
and  genial  fellows  that  ever  graced  the  town 
of  Cairo.  The  writer  of  these  lines  had 
noticed  Mr.  Kelly  in  passing  about  the 
streets,  and  he  was  so  very  odd-lookino-  in 
his  make-up,  that  he  gut  to  inquiring  of 
every  one  he  met,  Who  is  that?  After  a  long 
pursuit  of  this  kind,  he  gained  the  desired 
information,  and  his  informant  not  only 
gave  the  information,  but  followed  it  up  with 
an  introduction.  Mr.  Kelly  was  of  Milesian 
extraction  (which  was  plainly  to  be  seen), 
and  had  been  reared  from  early  boyhood  in 
the  Picayune  office,  until  he  was  about  as 
much  one  of  its  fixtm-es  as  was  any  other  part 
of    the  establishment.      His    whole    life  was 


148 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


centered  there;  be  knew  no  other  home, 
guardian,  parents,  or,  apparently,  place  to 
go,  either  before  or  after  quitting  this  world. 
He  probably  did  not  form  twenty  intimate  or 
general  acquaintances  while  in  Cairo.  In 
the  presence  of  strangers,  he  stood  mute,  and 
sometimes  appeared  almost  idiotic,  and  if, 
under  such  circumstances,  he  tried  to  talk  and 
make  himself  intelligible,  he  apparently  only 
made  matters  so  much  the  worse;  yet,  locked 
up  in  a  room  with  some  congenial,  well-un- 
derstood friend,  or  place  before  him  pen  and 
paper  and  instantly  he  was  much  as  one  in- 
spired. To  know  Ralph  Kelly  even  slightly, 
was  to  read  over  and  over,  every  day  you 
were  with  him,  the  story  of  Oliver  Goldsmith, 
and  to  recall  what  Johnson  said,  when  he 
called  him  the  "  poll-parrot  who  wrote  like 
inspiration. " 

Ralph  Kelly!  Have  you  gone  with  the 
fleeting  years,  and,  like  them,  gone  forever? 
If  so  it  be,  we  would  place  one  little  faded 
flower  to  thy  memory,  typical  of  as  pure  a 
friendship  as  ever  one  being  held  for  another. 

E.  H.  Whipple  was  the  Cairo  war  corre- 
spondent of  the  Chicago  Tribune.  We  re- 
member him  as  a  good-looking,  round-faced 
young  man,  full  of  the  energy  and  wakeful- 
ness that  always  got  the  latest  news,  and  was 
certain  it  should  reach  the  Tribune  before  he 
would  sleep.  He  seemed  to  be  a  very  retir- 
ing, quiet  young  man,  and  much  to  his 
credit  it  was,  too,  he  did  not  join  much  in 
the  convivialities  that  marked  the  existence 
of  the  Cairo  life  of  most  of  the  Bohemians. 
Mr.  Whipple  is  now  in  some  way  connected 
with  a  detective  agency  in  Chicago,  a  ad  long 
since  has  given  his  Fabers  to  his  babies  for 
toys. 

L.  Curry  represented  the  Cincinnati  Com- 
mercial. A  man  of  an  eventful  and  a  very 
sad  domestic  history.  His  wife,  whom  he 
married  at  the  age  of  eighteen,  when  he  was 


barely  twenty-one,  dying  with  her  child 
in  about  twelve  months  after  marriage,  un- 
der the  saddest  circumstances.  Mr.  Curry 
was  a  young  man  of  good  education,  and  had 
been  reared  under  the  most  fortunate  circum- 
stances. He  was  an  excellent  wi'iter,  a  warm- 
hearted and  most  exemplary  young  man  in 
bis  habits.  He  made  so  few  acquaintances 
in  Cairo — owing  to  the  facts  above  referred 
to — that  there  are  very  few  people  here  who 
will  remember  him.  His  history,  after  leav- 
ing here,  is  not  known  to  the  writer. 

Charles  Phillips  represented  the  Chicago 
Times.  He  was  quite  a  young  man,  but  his 
writings  came  from  his  pen  rapidly,  and  as 
finished,  almost,  as  a  stereotype.  His  cult- 
ure was  unusual  for  one  of  his  age — prob- 
ably twenty-four.  The  writer  knows  nothing 
of  his  history,  except  what  he  saw  of  him  in 
Cairo.  A  more  unassuming  young  man  never 
lived,  and  his  talents  in  his  chosen  line  of 
profession  were  of  the  very  highest  order. 
He  was  a  consistent,  practical  and  conscien- 
tious Christian.  He  was  very  quiet  in  his 
manners,  and  his  whole  nature  was  such  that 
he  could  not  intrude  his  opinions  or  person. 
He  died  in  the  early  part  of  1864,  we  believe, 
at  the  home  of  his  parents  or  friends,  some- 
where near  Metropolis,  111.,  but  of  this  (that 
is,  the  residence  of  his  friends)  we  are  not 
certain.  He  died  of  consumption;  and  for 
months,  befoi'e  he  left  Cairo  and  went  home 
to  die,  we  confess  it  was  one  of  the  saddest 
sights  we  ever  saw,  to  see  him  suffering, 
working  and  wasting  away,  yet  uncomplain- 
ingly working  on,  until  his  pen  fell  from  his 
nerveless  grasp,  and  the  young  life  that 
would  have  been  worth  so  much  to  the  world 
went  to  sleep  in  death.  Charley  Phillips, 
may  your  sad  and  cruel  wrongs,  sufferings 
and  untimely  taking-off  here  in  this  world, 
have  been  a  million  of  million  times  com- 
pensated in  the  next! 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


149 


H.  C.  Bradsby   succeeded  Mr.  Phillips   as 
the  representative  of  the  Chicago  Times,  and 
also  enlarged  the  duties,  and  represented  the 
Missouri  Republican.     His  duties  to  the  lat- 
ter were  to    furnish  at    least    two    letters  by 
mail   per  week,    in    addition   to    duplicating 
the  Times  and  Republican  dispatches.     We 
would  not  further  speak  of  him  here,  but  we 
realize  a  public  sentiment  will  expect  it,  and 
to  some  extent,  therefore,  reqiiire  it.    He  had 
none    of    Mr.    Phillips    religion   or   morals, 
and    but    little  of  his    culture.     He    was    at 
times  (very  brief)   brilliant,  but    as    a    rule 
was  more    marked   for    daring  than    genius. 
It  would  be    difficult   to  find   two  men  more 
the  perfect  opposites  of  each  other  than  were 
these  two  correspondents  of  the  Times.     Mr. 
B.  continued  to  represent  his  two  papers  until 
after   the   war  was  all  over,  and   Cairo   had 
long  ceased  to    be  a  great  [news   point.     He 
was  then,  awhile,  editing  or  writing  for  first 
one  paper  and  then  another,  and  at  one  time 
or  another  edited  or  wrote  for  every  paper  pub- 
lished in   Cairo  during  his  residence  here, 
except  the  Olive  Branch.     In  his   writings, 
he  sometimes  made  people  laiigh,  sometimes 
stare,  and  sometimes  squirm,  and  he  seemed 
ever  equally    indiflferent   as  to  which    result 
flowed   out    from   his    pen.       His    character 
always   seemed  an    inconsistent  one;  at   one 
moment,  perhaps,  a  great  egotist,  at  the  next, 
the  picture  of  self-humility;  and   these  were 
often  and  often  exemplified  in  his  writings. 
He  had  the  art  complete  of  making  enemies, 
and  holding  them,  when  once  made,  perpet- 
ually; and  his  friends,  therefore,  were  never 
numerous,    but  in  a  jVery  few    instances  firm 
and  stanch.     What  education  he  got  (though 
nominally  a  collegiate)  was    in  the  columns 
of  the  different  papers  he  worked  upon  dur- 
ing the  twenty-five  years  intervening  between 
his    first   experience   upon    the   proofs  of    a 
country  press  and  the  present  time.    He  gave 


considerable  attention,  in  a  scattered,  inco- 
herent kind  of  way,  to  the  scientific  writers 
of  the  past  quarter  of  a  century;  and  has  just 
now  learned  enough  to  cease  to  be  dogmatic 
in  his  opinions — to  believe  little  and  know 
less. 

W.  B.   Kerney  was  a  long  time  in  Cairo, 
commencing    here    as   the    agent  of    the  As- 
sociated   Press;    afterward    represented    the 
Chicago     Evening   Journal,    and    then    the 
Chicago    Tribune.       He   was   an    odd    little 
fellow,   and  quite  as  clever,   when  you  came 
to   know   him   better,  as   the   best  of   them. 
He   seems  to  have  been,  all   his   young  life, 
much  given  to  fall  in   with  isms,  and   when 
once  he  had  given  anything  of  this  kind  his 
approval,    he,    for   awhile,  at  least   followed 
it    with   remarkable    devotion.     He   was    an 
honest,    thoroughly   good    man  in  every  re- 
spect.    He  was  very  industrious,   and  atten- 
tive  to  his    bu.siness,  and  was    probably  the 
most   even-tempered    man   that    ever    lived. 
Nothing  could  swerve  him  from  the  even  tem- 
per of  his  way,  or  provoke  him  into  an  angry 
retort.     He  and   his  good   little    wife  could 
almost  always  be   seen  together,  and  it  was 
beautiful  to  see  the  rivalry  between  them,  as 
to  which  could  most  admire  the  other.    They 
were  childless,  and  firm  believers  in  the  effi- 
cacy of  the  cold  water  cure  for  all  the  ills  of 
life.     They  had   been  most  unfortunate,  in 
losing  .several    children    dying  in    infancy. 
Upon  one  occasion,  the  man  and  wife   were 
fcick,  and  they  were  doctoring  each  other  with, 
water,  and  eating  about  an  apple  each  a  day. 
Fortunately    for    them    both,    Dr.    Dunning 
happened  to    be  called  in.      He   took  in  the 
situation,  and  ordered   a    good- sized    sirloin 
beefsteak,    overlooked    its   preparation,    and 
made  them  eat  it.     To  their  amazement,  they 
liked  it,  and  they  were  soon  well — better,  in 
fact,    than    they   had   been    for   years — con- 
tinued to  eat  good,  nutritious  food,  and  the 


150 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


last  accounts  the  writer  had  of  them,  they  had 
three  or  four  as  fine,  healthy  childi-en  as  you 
would  want  to  see. 

In  all  this  vast  amount  of  newspaper 
births  and  deaths,  there  were  developed  but 
two  men  who  were  pui'ely  and  only  publish- 
ers. Men  who  gave  this  department  their 
undivided  attention,  and  depended  wholly 
upon  hiring  all  the  writing  that  they  wanted. 
These  were  Thomas  Lewis  and  H.  L.  Good- 
all.  Each  had  a  long  career  here,  and  each 
gave  many  evidences  that  under  different  cir- 
cumstances and  suiToundings  they  might 
have  built  up  great  institutions.  Goodall 
could  do  the  best  combining  and  planning, 
but  Lewis  had  the  nerve  for  any  venture  that 
promised,  even  remotely,  to  pay  as  an  invest- 
ment. When  Mr.  Lewis  quit  his  old  favorite, 
the  Democrat,  he  seems  to  have  made  up  his 
mind  to  quit  the  business,  but  not  so  with 
Mr.  Goodall.  He  is  now  in  Chicago,  and  is 
still  a  publisher,  and  we  are  more  than  glad 
to  learn,  at  last  a  successful  one.  May  his 
shadow  never  grow  less! 

In  its  proper  place,  perhaps,  but  the  truth 
is,  the  very  last  place  in  the  rear  column, 
was  always  the  best  place  for  "  Old  Rogers," 
one  of  the  most  remarkable  tramp  printers 
even  Cairo  ever  had,  with  all  its  hosts  of  distin- 
guished characters  in  this  line.  Rogers 
was  a  very  good  workman,  but  his  habits 
were  to  prefer  dirt  and  filth  to  fine  linen 
and  the  breezes  of  Araby.  He  was  a 
tramp  printer,  with  all  the  term  implies,  and 
a  great  deal  more,  too.  He  was  here  about 
1S60,  and  made  Cairo  a  central  point  in  his 
rounds.  Everybody  then  knew  him,  and  un- 
derstood well  that  he  considered  it  would  be 
a  hanging  crime  in  himself  to  be  caught 
even  passably  clean  in  his  person,  and  so- 
briety and  cleanliness  were  much  the  same 
thing  with  old  Rogers.  Yet  at  periods,  he 
had  to   sober   uj)  enough   to  work,  but   this 


necessity  never  arose  as  to  his  habits  of  per- 
son. He  was  smart,  quick-witted,  and  much 
enjoyed  telling  how  he  often  astonished  and 
disgusted  strangers,  and  if  he  was  kicked  off 
a  train  or  boat,  he  relished  telling  the  cir- 
cumstance immensely. 

On  one  occasion,  he  had  just  arrived  in 
Cairo  from  Evansville,  and  was  surrounded 
by  Postmaster  Len  Faxon,  Deputy  Bob  Jen- 
nings, Sam  Hall,  Joe  Abell  and  two  or  three 
others,  all  anxious  to  hear  Rogers  tell  some  of 
his  recent  experiences.  "  I'm  just  in  from 
Evansville,  boys,"  said  Rogers,  ",and,  great 
Caesar,  I'm  hungry.  I  was  put  ashore  from 
a  flat-boat  at  Golcouda,  because,  as  the  crew 
said,  I  was  too  rich  for  their  blood,  and  so 
I've  just  footed  it  all  the  way  from  there  to 
Cairo,  and  if  I've  eaten  a  mouthful  in  four 
days,  why,  then  I've  eaten  a  whole  army 
mule  in  the  last  two  minutes.  By  George, 
to  come  right  down  to  it,  boys,  I'm  starv- 
ing." 

"  Well,"  said  Willett,  giving  the  boys  a 
wink,  "  if  I  was  real  hungry,  I'd  call  on 
Capritz;  order  a  baked  bass;  a  fry  of  oysters; 
a  plain  omelet,  and " 

"But,"  chimed  in  Rogers,  "I  ain't  got  any 
money." 

"  If  I  were  you,"  said    Sam   Hall,  paying 
no  attention  to  Rogers'  impecuniosity,   "  I'd 
step  into  Weldon's;  get  a  porterhouse  steak 
with  mushrooms  or  onions,  some  boiled  eggs, 
milk  toast,  and " 

"  Oh,  boys,  don't,"  cried  Rogers,  in  evi- 
dent agony;  "you  don't  know  how  you're 
torturing  me.  I'm  awful  hungry,  but  I  hain't 
got  any " 

"  I  don't  know,"  interrupted  Abell,  "  but 
a  good  lay-out  for  a  real  hungry  man  would 
be  quail,  nicely  browned,  on  toast;  quail  on 
toast,  mind  you;  a  cujd  of  good,  hot  choco- 
late; white  hot  rolls,  with  country  butter, 
and " 


^^^^^i^^ 


HISTORY   OF   CAIRO. 


153 


"  Oh,  ynra — um — yiim!"  muttered  Rogers, 
laying  his  hands  upon  his  stomach,  and  look- 
ing as  if  he  would  Jtrade  his  hope  in  heaven 

for  even  a  raw  turnip;  "oh,  boys, " 

.  "  Or,"  quickly  added  Jennings,  "  a  cup  of 
hot  coffee — amber-colored  Mocha — with  gen- 
uine cream;  a  fried  squirrel,  or  baked  prairie 
chicken;  cranberry  sauce,  of  course,  and  a 
rich  oyster  stew  to  commence  on,  would  be, 
for  a  real  hungry  man,  mind  you,  about  as 
toothsome  a " 

"  Oh,  boys, "  exclaimed  the  tortured 
Rogers,  "hush!  hush!  for  God's  sake;  for 
you'i'e  killing  me!  "  And  it  much  appeared 
as  if,  for  once  in  his  life,  the  poor  man  was 
telling'  the  truth  about  somethingr  to  eat. 
But  an  hour  later,  Rogers  was  the  happiest 
man  in  town.  The  boys  had  staked  him  with 
a  quarter,  and  with  this  he  had  got  a  pig's 
foot  and  three  5 -cent  di'inks.  His  hunger 
had  been  appeased,  and  calling  Joe  Abell 
aside,  he  asked  him,  in  the  strictest  confi- 
dence, if  he  knew  of  a  cheap  shebang,  where 
a  pig's  foot  would  be  considered  a  legal  ten- 
der for  a  glass  of  whisky. 

Among  the  many  different  reporters  on 
the  Democrat  was  one  named  Beatty,  who 
will  be  remembered  by  the  old  Cairoites 
as  a  round,  red-faced  young  man.  He 
commenced  his  career  in  this  place  as 
foreman  of  the  Morning  News,  and  was  for 
some  time  local,  under  John  A.  Hull,  on  that 
paper,  and  was  then  transferred  to  the  Demo- 
crat. He  left  Cairo  in  the  early  part  of 
1866,  and  found  employment  as  a  reporter  on 
the  Indianapolis  Journal.  He  died  in  In- 
dianapolis in  1867. 

Gen.  Schenck  was  stationed  here  a  good 
while,  and  then  seemed  to  loaf  around  some 
time  after  his  post  duties  had  ceased.  Al- 
ways, when  introduced,  he  would  inform  his 
new  acquaintance  that  he  was  a  near  relative 
of  Gen.  Schenck's,  of  Ohio.     For  a  longtime. 


he  had  been  confidentially  telling  everybody 
in  Cairo  that  he  was  expecting  an  important 
appointment  from  the  President.  He  was 
watching  the  papers  daily.  One  day.  Gen. 
Sheridan  and  his  escort  fleet  of  steamers 
came  up  from  New  Orleans,  and  Gen. 
Schenek  had  a  grand  salute  fired  from  the 
forts  and  all  the  guns  in  port,  in  honor  of 
the  great  arrival.  It  so  happened,  that  same 
day  and  about  the  same  horn*  of  Sheridan's 
arrival,  there  came  news  that  California  had 
gone  Democratic  at  an  important  election 
just  held.  The  'correspondent  of  the  Times 
sent  a  flaming  dispatch  to  his  paper,  which 
was  duly  published,  announcing  that  Gen. 
Schenck  was  then  firing  a  national  salute  in 
honor  of  the  California  victory,  Schenck 
would,  after  this,  tell  over  and  over  again, 
how  his  appointment  had  just  gone  to  the 
Senate  and  while  it  was  under  considera- 
tion, the  Chicago  Times  arrived,  and,  in  the 
nick  of  time,  forever  ruined  him.  But  there 
were  many  worse  men  in  the  army  than  poor 
Schenck,  and  if  the  correspondent' s  si  lly  joke 
did  really  injure  him,  he  has  regretted  it  a 
thousand  times. 

A  reporter  named  Pratt  was  for  some 
time  connected  with  the  Cairo  papers,  com- 
mencing with  the  Democrat,  and  continuing 
longer  in  that  place  than  anywhere  else. 
He  sometimes  wrote  little  innocent  pieces  of 
poetry,  and  the  whole  thing,  probably,  may 
be  estimated  by  the  title  of  one  of  his  pieces, 
which  was  called  "A  Crack  in  the  Win- 
dow." "When  business  grew  dull  in  Cairo, 
Mr.  Pratt  we  believe,  went  to  some  point 
in  IMissouri,  and  was  there  a  member  of  the 
rural  press. 

John  H.  Oberly  came  here  from  Ohio,  a 
young  man,  and  by  trade  a  practical  printer. 
His  first  employment  was  on  the  Democrat, 
as  general  foreman  of  the  press  and  job 
rooms;  and  after   the  retirement  of   Joel  G. 

9 


154 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


Morgan  from  the  editorial  chair,  Mr.  Oberly 

assumed  this  position,  and  for  some  time  at- 
tended to  both  departments,  and  proving  so 
successful  a  writer,  he  soon  quit  entirely  the 
mechanical  department,  and  became  the  gen- 
eral editor.  With  but  limited  school  advanta- 
ges in  early  life,  and  having  married  when 
quite  young,  he  was  forced  to  early  exertions 
for  the  support  of  a  large  young  household,and 
at  the  same  time  prepare  himself  for  those 
advances  in  his  trade  and  profession  that  he 
has  achieved.  He  was  blest  with  one  misfort- 
une to  himself  as  a  journalist;  he  could  talk 
naturally  well — we  mean  as  a  public  speaker 
— and  this  soon  inclined  him  to  the  stump, 
politics,  and  even  some  pretensions  to  state- 
craft, and  he  wasted  some  of  the  best  years 
of  his  school  life  as  a  writer,  in  the  State 
Legislature,  and  was  afterward,  by  the  ap- 
pointment of  the  Governor,  one  of  the  Rail- 
road Commissioners  for  the  State  of  Illinois. 
His  natural  qualifications  are  good— much 
above  the  average.  He  is  now  engaged  in 
publishing  a  daily  Democratic  paper  in 
Bloomington,  III,  where,  we  learn,  he  is 
meeting  with  merited  success.  As  a  public, 
off-hand  speaker,  Mr.  Oberly  is  much  above 
the  average — in  fact,  frequently  strong,  brill- 
iant and  fascinating.  This  flatter  talent 
seems  to  have  been  natural  to  him,  and  he 
has  put  it  to  much  use  the  past  few  years, 
being  called  to  many  parts  of  the  State  to 
lecture  and  address  public  assemblies.  For 
his  real  development  in  either  line,  his  tal- 


ents have  been  too  versatile,  and  in  some  re- 
spects this  has  been  one  of  his  misfortunes, 
as  the  human  mind  has  always  been  so  con- 
stituted that  to  achieve  great  success,  it  must 
focus  upon  one- single  thing    and   burn  itself 
out  there,  in  order  to  invest  it  with  those  in- 
tellectual    calcium    lights   that   attract   the 
world's  attention.     His  social  qualities  and 
ties  of  friendship  are   strong,  lasting  and  al- 
ways as  true  as  steel ;  but,  on  the  other  hand, 
when  his  ill-will  has  been  once  aroused,  he 
fills  the  warmest    wish  of  Dr.  Johnson,  who 
said  he  "loved  a  good  hater."  He  was  always 
very  popular  with  the  people  of   Cairo,  as  is 
evidenced   by  the  fact  that   they   gave   him 
every  oflfice,  commencing  with  Mayor  of  the 
city,  that  he  ever  asked  for.       Mr.    Oberly 
stayed    in    Cairo  much    longer   than  did  the 
average  writers  or  editors  who  were  here  and 
have  gone;  his  success  while  here  was,  too, 
above  the    average  of    them;  yet,    purely  as 
writers,  there    were   several,  at  one    time  or 
another,  that   were  his    superior  in  point  of 
cultivation,  in  their  chosen  line,  a  fact  that 
leads  us  to  the  conclusion,  that  in  the  West 
the  profession  has  hardly  yet  been  separated 
and  made  a  distinct  and  independent  one  ; 
that  is,  one  where  nothing  but  the  most  care- 
ful training  -and  preparation  can  qualify  or 
enable  the   candidate    to  enter  and   compete 
for  the  high  honors  that  it  will,  at  some  time, 
bestow, 

A  reflection  that  admonishes  us  to  hurried- 
ly close  this  chapter. 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


155 


CHAPTER   VII. 


SOCIETIES:  LITERARY,    SOCIAL     AND     BENEVOLENT— THE     IDEAL     LEAGUE— LYCEUM— MASONIC 

FRATERNITY— ITS   GREAT   ANTIQUITY— ODD   FELLOWSHIP— THE   CAIRO 

CASINO— OTHER   SOCIETIES,  ETC. 


'Behold  how  good  and  pleasant  it  is  for  brethren 
to  dwell  together  in  unity." — Psalms,  cxxxiii.,  1. 

THE  Ideal  League. — We  go  to  school  from 
the  cradle  to  the  gi-ave,  and  this  is  one  of 
the  inexorable  laws  of  our  being.  These 
schools  or  fountains  of  education  are  nearly  in- 
finite in  variety,  and  have  little  in  common  save 
the  imperfections  that  pervade  all.  The 
schoolmaster  and  the  birch  twigs  are  the 
real  schools  only  in  name;  in  fact,  it  is 
doubtful  if  they  are  not  2  stupendous  and 
prolonged  mistake  that  has,  to  some  extent, 
blockedthe  way  of  true  education.  Such  old- 
fashioned  schools  were  grood  trainingf-rooms 
but  nothing  more. 

A  careful  investigation  of  the  controlling 
influences  of  the  mind  go  far  to  demonstrate 
the  fact  that  real  education  comes  with  our 
plays,  our  pleasures,  our  joys  and  that  sweet 
social  intercourse  of  congenial  spirits,  that 
is  the  mark  of  the  highest  type  of  our 
civilization.  The  mind  must  be  developed  as 
is  the  perfect  physical  nature.  It  is  not 
hard,  dull  work  that  molds  the  child  into 
beauty  and  strength,  perfection  and  grace, 
but,  on  the  contrary,  too  much  of  this 
dwarfs  and  warps  and  stunts  the  young  into 
ungainliness  of  person  and  feature.  Btit  it 
is  the  happy,  light  young  heart,  the  hilarious 
romp  and  that  sweetest  music  in  all  the 
world,  the  rippling  laughter  of  innocent 
childhood,  that  fashions  that  beauty  of  per- 
sons whose  every  movement  is  the  "  poetry 


of  motion."  The  child  must  have  the  en- 
ergy to  play,  and  play  with  that  abandon 
and  bubbling  joy  that  gives  an  exquisite  rel- 
ish to  existence  itself.  And  just  so  is  men- 
tal strength  and  beauty  created.  It  is  im- 
possible for  it  to  come  from  the  task-master 
and  the  rod.  A  strong,  active,  gi-aceful  and 
well-poised  intellect  is  created  only  of  the 
pleasures  of  life.  It  is  impossible  for  knowl- 
edge to  come  to  the  mind  in  any  other  way. 
This  is  self-evident  when  you  reflect  a  moment 
upon  the  fact  that  to  the  mind  of  culture, 
the  most  enduring  pleasures  of  life  are  the 
acquisition  of  new  truths.  The  activity  of 
the  mind  depends  upon  the  degree  and  in- 
tensity of  its  enjoyment.  This  i.s  its  food 
and  healthy  stimulant,  and  the  improvement 
and  new  truths  that  come  to  it  thus  are  its 
seeds  of  knowledge,  that  flourish  and  grow 
into  such  magnificence  and  wondrous  beauty. 
Let  us  qualify  this,  lest  the  superficial  may 
conclude  we  mean  to  say  that  mental  indo- 
lence and  rest  is  true  education.  We 
mean  exactly  the  opposite.  We  mean 
that  intense  mental  activity  that  comes  of  the 
keen  zest  of  mental  play-work,  of  that  social 
and  intellectual  life  that  is  made  up  of  the 
associations  of  congenial  companions  "  where 
youth  and  pleasure  meet,"  at  the  weekly 
trysts  of  the  Ideal  League  in  the  cozy  parlors 
of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  George  Parsons. 

The    Ideal    League    was  organized  March 
13,  1883,  and  although  one  of  the  youngest 


156 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


institutions   in   Cairo,    yet  it  is  already  the  j 
conspicuous  figure  in  the  intellectual  and  so-  i 
cial  life  of  the  city.    As  best  stated  by  itself, 
"  the  objects  of  this  association  are   musical,   ^ 
literary,  di-amatic  and  social  enjoyment,  the  ^ 
promotion    of    a   spirit    of     good-fellowship  , 
among  the    members;    the   attainment   of   a 
higher  mental  culture,  imd  a  steady  growth 
and  progressiveness  toward  enlarged  useful- 
ness. "     The  officers  are  as  follows :  President, 
Mr.    George  Parsons;    First  Vice  President, 
Mrs   W.  F.  Macdowell;  Second   Vice  Presi- 
dent, Miss  M.  Adella  Gordon;  Secretary  and 
Treasurer,  Miss  Fannie  L.  Barclay. 

The  charter  members:  Mr.  and  Mrs. 
George  Parsons,  Mr.  and  ^Mrs.  W.  F.  Mac- 
dowell, Miss  M.  Adella  Gordon,  Mr.  John 
Horn,  Dr.  J.  A.  Benson,  Dr.  E.  C.  Strong, 
Mr.  Scott  White,  Mr.  E.  C.  Halliday,  Misses 
Mamie  and  Eida  Corlis,  Miss  Fannie  L. 
Barclay,  Mr.  E.  G.  Crowell,  Mr.  J.  L.  Sar- 
ber,  Miss  Hattie  McKee,  Miss  Effie  Coleman, 
Mr.  F.  W.  Allen,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Henry  Wells, 
Mr.  ^Marx  Black,  Mr.  G.  T.  Car  ens,  Mr. 
William  Burkett,  Mr.  F.  G.  Metcalf,  Miss 
Montie  Metcalf,  :Mr.  George  E.  Ohara,  Mr. 
Edward  Reno,  Misses  Phyllys  and  Katie 
Howard,  Capt.  T.  W.  Shields,  Miss  Ella 
Armstrong,  Prof.  G.  A.  M.  Storer,  Mr.  Guy 
Morse,  Mr.  Henry  Hughes,  IVIr.  W.  E. 
Spear,  Miss  Maud  Eittenhouse,  Mr.  Will- 
iam Williamson,  jMr.  William  Korsmeyer 
and  Miss  Bettie  Korsmeyer. 

The  members  added  since  the  organization 
are  Mr.  Albert  Galigher,  ISIr.  James  Lock- 
ridge  and  Mrs.  Stephen  T.  McBride. 

The  Ideal  League  has  simply  supplied  a 
long- felt  want  in  Cairo.  The  membership 
was  wisely  limited  to  forty  members,  and 
this  full  number  was  made  up  almost  from 
the  first  meeting.  The  real  founders  and  or- 
ganizers of  this  pleasant  and  profitable  club 
judged  wisely  when  they  determined  that  the 


harvest  was  ripe  and  ready  for  the  gleaners  in 
Cairo.  The  necessity  of  limiting  the  member- 
ship of  the  club  is  easily  understood  when  the 
fact  is  mentioned  that  the  meetings  of  the 
Ideal  League  are,  so  far,  parlor  entertain- 
ments, at  which  there  are  only  limited  capaci- 
ties. 

The  work  of  the  Ideal  League  speaks  for 
itself,  and  while  it  is  among  the  latest  efibrts 
of  forming  a  literarj-  and  social  club,  it  is  al- 
ready crowned  with  that  success  that  betokens 
a  long  and  useful  life,  as  well  as  a  continual 
source  of  pleasure  and  profit  to  the  young 
people  of  Cairo. 

The  Lyceum  is  an  older  society  than  the 
League,  and,  so  far  as  we  can  learn,  deserves 
thn  first  place  in  history,  but  our  investiga- 
tors and  seekers  after  facts  have  thus  far 
wholly  failed  to  find  the  essential  facts  and 
dates  that  will  enable  us  to  more  than  state 
it  exists,  but  whether  as  an  intellectual  vol- 
cano, that  is,  in  a  state  of  activity  or  not,  we 
cannot  say.  So  we  must  content  ourselves 
with  the  statement  of  the  fact  of  its  exis- 
tence, and,  with  the  farther  remark  that 
Cairo  has  in  all  her  history  to  date  to  some 
extent  neglected  the  improvement  of  this 
avenue  of  social  and  intellectual  life.  Cir- 
cumstances, and  not  the  absence  of  an  abund- 
ance and  the  best  of  material,  has  been  the 
source  of  all  this.  It  is  to  be  hoped  now, 
that  this  will  no  longer  be  the  case,  as  the 
subject  has  the  past  winter  and  spring,  by  a 
fortunate  circumstance,  been  brought  so 
prominently  before  the  people  in  discussions 
in  social  circles  and  much  more  so  in  the 
daily  papers. 

The  Masons — The  history  of  Masonry  is 
more  or  less  familiar  to  all  the  civilized,  and, 
as  the  order  claims,  to  many  of  the  semi-civ- 
ilized, and  even  good  Masons  are  to  be 
found  among  barbarous  peoples.  Among  its 
claimed  chief  merits  and  glories  are  its  great 


HISTORY  or  CAIRO. 


157 


age — the  oldest  organization  in  the  world, 
antedating  all  sects,  religions  and  even  all 
organized  social  life  since  the  coming  of 
Adam  and  Eve.  Again,  it  is  sometimes 
given  as  the  history  of  its  foundation,  that, 
as  its  name  indicates,  it  was  founded  and 
organized  among  the  workmen  for  mutual 
protection  at  the  building  of  that  historical 
structure — Solomon's  Temple.  But  like 
everything  else,  it  has  adapted  itself  to  the 
inevitable  that  follows  the  workings  and 
growth  of  the  human  mind,  and  now  they 
have  attached  to  the  order  well-regulated 
benefit  associations,  and  distribute  much  real 
and  beneficial  charity  and  aid  to  fellow-mem- 
bers and  the  widows  and  orphans  of  deceased 
brethren.  The  cardinal  ideas  of  Masonry 
have,  perhaps,  always  been  a  high  morality 
founded  on  the  Bible,  and  a  law  of  mutual 
protection  of  a  brother  toward  a  brother. 

A  lodge  was  chartered  in  1857,  appoint- 
ing Charles  D.  Arter,  William  Standing,  J. 
AV.  McKenzie,  John  L.  Smith,  Robert  E. 
Yost,  C.  Stewart  and  Robert  H.  Baird  as 
charter  members. 

In  1874,  the  two  Cairo  lodges — the  Delta 
and  Lodge  237 — were  consolidated  and 
formed  under  the  name  of  the  Delta  Lodge. 

The  order  of  the  Council  was  chartered 
October  5,  1866.  The  charter  members  were 
J.  B.  Fulton,  J.  W.  Morris,  George  E.  Louns- 
bury,  Orlando  Wilson,  Charles  Morris,  W. 
H.  Walker,  E.  P.  Smith,  L.  Jorgensen, 
Most  Fobs,  L.  H.  Elbrod,  William  Stand- 
ing, H.  Elbrod,  E.  P.  Smith,  Charles  Minni- 
que.  Isadore  Meiner,  E.  S.  Davis,  C.  Ger- 
ricko,  A.  Harrick,  S.  J.  Jackson,  P.  H.  Pope, 
I.  W.  Waugh,  C.  S.  Hartough  F.  F.  Dun- 
bar, J.  C.  Guff,  H.  T.  Bridges,  S.  Hess, 
William  Perkins,  J.  Joseph  and  C.  R.  Wood- 
ward. 

The  Odd  Fellows — The  secret  societies 
above   now   attach   much  importance  to  the 


term  "  ancient,"  and  the  very  warm  stick- 
lers for  this  are  the  Masons,  followed  closely 
by  the  Odd  Fellows.  This  last-named  order 
came  to  Cairo  October  13,  1857.  The  char- 
ter bearing  that  date  is  issued  to  John  Green- 
wood, Abe  Williams,  G.  W.  McKenzie,  H. 
W.  Bacon,  John  A.  Reed,  John  Antrim  and 
L.  G.  Faxon. 

At  the  commencement  of  the  late  wai*,  Joha 
Q.  Harmon  was  the  N.  G.  of  the  order,  and 
for  some  reason  unknown  to  us  he  returned 
the  charter  in  1861,  and  the  society  was  no 
more  a  working  Cairo  institution. 

On  October  the  3d,  1862,  the  following 
parties  met  and  determined  to  have  another 
organization  efi'ected  and  the  beautiful  prin- 
ciples of  charity  to  the  loved  society  once 
more  in  full  operation  here,  to  wit:  F.  Bross, 
J.  S.  Morris,  H.  F.  Goodyear,  M.  Malinski, 
C.  S.  Hutcheson,  I.  P.  McAuley,  Joseph 
McKenzie  and  C.  M.  Osterloh.  On  the  7th 
of  the  same  month,  at  another  meeting,  the 
following  additional  members'  names  ap- 
pear on  the  rolls:  John  T.  Rennie,  W.  V. 
McKee,  and  A.  Halley.  After  this  rest  of 
nearly  ten  years,  the  members,  it  seems, 
went  to  work,  determined  to  make  up  for 
lost  time,  and  in  a  little  while  the  member- 
ship had  so  grown  that  the  I.  O.  O.  F.  ex- 
ceeded any  society  in  the  town  in  point  of 
membership,  and  they  had  fitted  up  a  nice 
hall  and  furnished  it  well.  The  society  now 
is  in  a  flourishing  condition,  and  their  ele- 
gant hall  is  on  Commercial  avenue,  opposite 
Seventh  street,  and  here,  as  of  old,  upon  the 
sacred  altars  of  their  sires,  the  eastern  wor- 
shipers turned  their  faces  and  devotions. 
So  it  is  with  many  of  the  members,  and 
their  meetings  are  largely  and  regularly  at- 
tended by  nearly  all  the  members,  and  from 
here  every  Christmas  goes  out  to  the  widows 
and  orphans  of  deceased  members  the  holy 
remembrances  upon  that  sacred  day.     No  so- 


InS 


HISTORY  OF  CATKO. 


ciety  is  more  liberal  than  this  in  the  extent 
of  its  benefactions,  and  while  the  gifts  go  so 
bountifully,  they  are  not  charity  doled  out  to 
those  receiving  it,  but  are  dues  from  the  so- 
ciety to  those  whose  fathers  and  husbands 
were  once  brothers,  and  ungrudgingly  they 
go  to  all — ^the  rich  as  well  as  the  poor.  They 
have  a  fund  called  the  widows'  and  orphans 
fund,  that  now  amounts  to  something  over 
$500,  notwithstanding  the  almost  constant 
drain  made  upon  it.  The  money  and  hall 
furniture,  etc.,  amounts  to  over  $3,000.  At 
the  burial  of  any  member  of  Ihe  order,  the 
whole  is,  when  agreeable  to  the  relatives, 
taken  charge  of  by  the  order,  and  $75  set 
apart  to  the  family  to  defray  funeral  ex- 
penses. 

The  membership  now  is  128.  Since  the 
organization,  in  different  years,  there  have 
been  received  232  members. 

There  was  at  one  time  two  consecutive 
years  when  no  death  occurred  in  the  mem  - 
bership  or  their  families,  and  at  the  expira- 
tion of  the  two  years,  and  then  during  three 
months,  two  members  and  the  wife  of  each 
were  buried  by  the  organization. 

Knights  of  Honor  meet  in  the  I.  O.  O. 
F.  hall,  on  the  second  and  foui'th  Tuesday 
evenings  of  each  month.  While  this  order 
is  comparatively  a  modern  one,  yet  it  may  be 
classed  among  the  most  flourishing  of  the 
country.  The  order  throughout  the  United 
States  is  composed  of  the  Supreme  Lodge. 
and,  as  its  name  indicates,  is  the  supreme 
authority  over  all  others.  Then  the  Grand 
Lodge,  that  has  a  State  jurisdiction  and 
supervision;  then  the  subordinate  lodges,  and 
these  are  the  local  ones. 

When  a  member  joins  this  society,  a  cer- 
tificate is  issued  to  him,  called  a  widow's  and 
orphans'  fund  certificate,  the  amount  of 
which  is  $2,000.  The  ages  for  receiving 
new  members  is  between   eighteen  and  fifty 


years  of  age.  There  are  three  degrees,  called 
Infancy,  Youth  and  Manhood,  and  the  last 
only  is  entitled  to  any  benefits.  Half -rate 
certificates  are  issued,  and  upon  these  only 
half -rate  assessments  are  paid  and  $1,000 
only  is  paid  upon  death  occurring.  Assess- 
ments only  one  in  twenty  days,  and  the  rate 
upon  each  death  to  those  between  the  ages 
of  eighteen  and  forty-five  years,  $1 ;  forty- 
five  to  forty-six,  $1.05;  forty-six  to  forty- 
seven,  $1.10;    forty-nine  to  fifty  $1.50. 

The  present  membership  of  the  Cairo  so- 
ciety is  105,  and  the  enrollment  140. 

The  society  was  organized  February  24, 
1879,  with  the  following  charter  members: 
W.  M.  Williams,  W.  R.  Smith,  Elmer 
Krauth,  L.  H.  Saup,  James  F.  Miller,  G. 
M.  Fraser,  Henry  Baird,  C.  F.  Rudd,  N.  W. 
Hacker,  W.  H.  Axe,  James  A.  Phillis,  George 

B.  Ramsey,  Oscar  Haythorn,  A.  G.  Royse, 
Charles  Pink,  M.  W.  Parker,  F.  F.  Gholson, 
M.  T.  Fulton,  Thomas  B.  Farren,  W.  B. 
Pettis,  George  B.  Sergeant,  John  S.  Hacker, 
Frank  Cassidy,  George  W.  Chellet,  Charles 
H.  Baker,  Henry  Winters,  Charles  Ediker,  H. 

C.  Loflin,  C.  W.  Dunning,  H.  Meyers,  Henry 
Elliott,  P.  W.  Barclay,  R.  H.  Baird,  Ru- 
dolph Hebsacker,  William  Smith,  C.  B.  S. 
Pennebaker,  J.  George  Steinhouse,  J.  G. 
Arrington,  George  W.  Yocum,  and  James 
Quinn. 

The  first  officers  in  the  election  held  by 
the  society  were  C.  W.  Dunning,  P.  D. ;  W.  M. 
Williams,  D.;  James  F.  Miller,  V.  D. ;  James 
A.  Phillis,  A.  D. ;  Hei'man  Meyers,  Guide; 
C.  H.  Baker,  R.;  A.  G.  Royse,  F.  B.;  Charles 
Pink,  T.;  H.  Winters,  C. ;  R.  H.  Baird,  G. ; 
and  W.  B.  Pettis,  S. 

The  present  (1883)  officers  of  the  lodge  are 
Samuel  J.  Humm,  P.  D. ;  Charles  Cuning- 
ham,D. ;  T.  B.  Holmes,  V.  D. ;  George  B.Ram- 
sey, A.  D. ;  R.  S.  Yocum,  R.;  A.  G.  Royse, 
F.  R.;    A.    G.   Errington,  T. ;    J.  F.  Miller, 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


159 


Guide;  C.  B.  S.Pennebaker  C;  Rudolph  Heb- 
sacker,  C. ;  Charles  D.  Young,  S. 

The  trustees  are  Herman  Meyers,  Oscar 
Haythorn  and  E.  A.  Buder. 

The  deaths  among  the  members  since  the 
order  was  founded  have  been  James  W.  Stew- 
art, January  31,  1881;  S.  S.  Tarrey,  July 
3,  1882;  James  W.  Gash,  November  2, 
1882;  Gerge  R.  Lentz,  May,  1883. 

The  finances  of  the  order  are  cash,  $600, 
and  in  property,  $206.95. 

The  Cairo  Casino  — A  German  benevolent 
and  social  society,  was  organized  on  the  14th 
of  December,  1867.  As  the  name  indicates, 
the  order  is  benevolent,  and  by  various  means 
distributes  its  faid,  fix'st  to  the  families  of 
those  who  have  been  members,  and  the  sur- 
plus to  those  worthy  and  in  need  of  their  as- 
sistance. It  is  peculiarly  a  German  institu- 
tion, as  its  name  further  indicates,  and  the 
casinos  of  America  are  offshoots  of  the  fa- 
therland. While  a  large  majority  of  the  names 
of  those  who  founded  the  Cairo  Casino  are 
German,  yet  a  careful  examination  of  the  list 
will  show  names  that  are  American,  En- 
glish, Italian  and  French.  Among  the  main 
purposes  of  the  club  are  music,  lager  beer,  wine 
and  an  annual  picnic  and  dancing  and  that 
species  of  social  life  so  characteristic  of  the 
German  race  when  they  meet  in  family 
groups,  in  which  may  be  found  all  ages  from 
the  infant  to  the  octogenarian. 

The  persons  who  originally  met  together, 
as  mentioned  above,  to  organize,  are  the  fol- 
lowing: Robert  Breibach,  Charles  Feuchter, 
Phillip  Laurent,  F.  M.  Stockfleth,  Ferdinand 
Koehler,  Jacob  Walter,  Charles  Helfrick,  A. 
Korsmeyer,  John  Scheel,  Frank  Pohle,  Louis 
Koehler,  Amandus  Jaekel,  Baltus  Reiff,  Au- 
gust Kramer.  William  Alba,  W.  T.  Beer 
wart 

The  first  officers  of  the  society  were  Robert 
Breibach,  President;  Charles  Feuchter,  Vice 


President;  Phillip  Laurent,  Treasurer;  F. 
M.  Stockfleth,  Sec. ;  August  Kramer,  Assist- 
ant Sec. 

On  June  15,  1873,  the  society  obtained  a 
regular  charter,  with  fifty- nine  regular  mem- 
bers. Since  that  date  it  has  lost  eleven 
members  by  death  and  thirty  of  the  charter 
members  either  removed  from  Cairo  or  re- 
signed their  membership.  Sixteen  new 
members  have  joined,  and  its  present  mem- 
bership is  thirty-four,  and  of  this  number 
eighteen  are  active  and  worthy  members  of 
the  society,  who  were  of  the  charter  members, 
as  follows:  Charles  Feuchter,  Charles  Hel- 
frick, Herman  Schmitzstorf,  John  George 
Keller,  Jacob  Walter,  Louis  Herbert,  John 
Koehler,  Herman  Meyer,  Jacob  Kline,  John 
Reese,  Henry  Wallschmidt,  Henry  Hasen- 
yeager,  Louis  Driestmann,  Henry  Walker, 
Leo    Kleb,      Jacob      Goldstein     and     Jean 

Ogg. 

Turner'' s  Society. — As  early  as  1856,  there 
were  Germans  enough  to  start  in  this  society, 
with  a  charter  membership  numbering  forty- 
five,  with  Henry  Aspern,  President,  Dr.  Kick- 
bach,  Sec.  The  society  purchased  five  lots 
and  erected  a  high,  close  fence  about  the 
same,  and  built  cheap,  temporary  frame 
houses  as  a  place  of  protection  to  their  prop- 
erty. These  improvements  were  hardly  more 
than  completed,  when  the  floods  of  June, 
1858,  came  and  washed  everything  away, 
leaving  their  lots  as  bare  as  the  old  bald 
head  who  ever  secured  the  front  seat  at  a  per- 
formance of  Fisk's  Blondes. 

The  society  then  rented  the  third  story  in 
the  Springfield  Block,  where  they  chuckled, 
took  swei  glass  and  sang  "Wacht  am  Rhine," 
when  the  fire  came — burned  the  block  and 
everything  in  the  world  the  society  had;  but 
not  wholly  demoralized,  the  Turner- Phoenix 
rose  from  the  ashes  and  again  purchased  lots 
on  Fifteenth  and  Cedar  streets,    and  again 


160 


HISTORY   OF   CAIRO. 


fenced  with  a  high  fence  and  built  a  plain  but 
neat  building,  and  when  they  had  the  grounds 
all  improved  m  good  shape  (this  was  in  1861), 
the  soldiers  came  and  made  quite  as  clean  a 
sweep  of  everything  belonging  to  the  club  as 
had  the  water  or  fire.  And  finally,  to  add 
insult  to  injury — to  kill  out  effectually  what 
could  not,  or  would  not  be  crushed,  the  head 
society  in  the  United  States  sent  a  formal 
circular  to  each  member,  notifying  him  that 
all  Turners  must  join  the  Republican  party, 


when  each  one  returned  the  circular,  sent 
back  their  constitution  and  charter  and  dis- 
banded, sine  die. 

One  of  the  original  and  active,  but  finally 
indignant  members,  remarked  to  the  writer, 
as  he  finished  the  above  account,  that  after 
the  last  election,  especially  in  Cincinnati,every 
Turner  society  in  the  United  States.  Germany 
and  Holland,  had  probably  returned  their 
charters  and  made  things,  "  donner  and 
blitsen"  all  around  the  sky. 


CHAPTEK   VIII. 


C\IRO— HER  <X)NDITION  IN   1S(;1-1878-1883— THE  EBB  AND  FLOW   OF  BUSINESS  AND    POPULATION 

—  WAR  AND  THE  PANIC  WHICH  FOLLOWED— STEAMBOATS— MARK  TWAIN— PILOTS— SOME 

STEAMBOAT  DISASTERS-AND  A  JOKE  OR  TWO  BY  WAY  OF  ILLUSTRATION,  ETC. 


IN  a  previous  chapter  we  brought  the  so- 
cial and  political  life  of  Cairo  as  fully  as 
we  could,  to  the  year  1863,   when  again  the 
prosperity    of   the    town   had  ascended  into 
another  zenith.     But  the  most  solid  advance- 
ment the  city  has  really  ever  made  was  from 
the  latter  part  of  1859-60  and  the  early  part 
of  1861.     During  this  period,   there  was  no 
similarly  situated  town  in  population,  wealth 
or  manufactories  in  the  world  that  equaled  or 
approached    Cairo    in    her    commercial    im- 
portance   and   glory.     The   Illinois  Central 
Railroad  had  been  long  enough  completed  to 
begin    to    manifest  her    importance    in    the 
commercial  world.     The  road  was   a  young 
and  mighty  giant,  and  was  in  the  hands  of 
men  who  could  comprehend  the  wants  of  the 
great  empire  to  be  developed,  and  with  large 
and  generous  ideas,  they  turned  their   atten- 
tion   to    the   Delta    city,  and    her  mingling 
waters  of  the  Mississippi  and  Ohio    as   they 
went  singing  to  the  sea.   Here  was  the  termi- 
nus of  the  road,  as  well   as  the  terminus  of 
continuous  navigation  in  the  finest  system  of 


rivers  in  the  world.  They  saw  here  the  cen  - 
tral  and  attractive  point  for  the  greatest 
scope  of  country,  unparalleled  in  its  wealth  of 
soil  and  climate;  they  saw  the  rich  wilderness 
that  was  to  bloom  into  immeasureable  com- 
merce and  productiveness,  and  to  develop 
some  day  into  that  superb  type  of  civiliza- 
tion that  pushes  forward  the  human  race — 
resources  incalculable,  and  a  growth  of 
wealth  immeasureable,  all  pointing  to  this 
spot  as  their  natural  place  of  meeting  and 
exchanges.  Here  were  mines,  not  only  inex- 
haustible, but  ever  growing  and  increasing 
in  their  yield,  and  not  to  be  dug  and  delved 
for  into  the  primeval  rocks  that  retain  the 
bowels  of  the  earth,  but  spread  with  the  un- 
sparing hand  of  Omnipotence  over  all  the 
fair  face  of  the  earth  and  the  waters.  Here 
were  the  greatest  rivers  the  greatest  railroad 
and  the  meeting  of  the  three  sister  States  of 
Illinois,  Kentucky  and  Missouri. 

Was  there  a  young  city  on  the  continent 
with  an  equal  extent  of  country  tributary  to 
the  coming  commercial  men  of  Cairo?    Here 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


161 


was  all  Southern  Illinois,  nearly  all  of  Ken- 
tiieky,  and  all  South  and  a  large  portion  of 
Eastern  Missouii,  all  of  Arkansas,  West  Ten- 
nessee, Texas  and  Louisiana,  and,  in  fact, 
south  to  the  galf  and  southeast  to  the  Pa- 
cific Ocean,  that  would  come  to  the  Cairo 
merchant  for  their  supplies  and  trade.  In 
the  North  there  was  no  rival  that  might  at 
all  compete  with  Cairo  until  Chicago  was 
reached,  and  then  Cincinnati  in  the  north- 
east and  St.  Louis  in  the  northwest.  The 
flour,  corn,  pork,  beef,  the  products  of  the 
dairy,  all  north  of  Cairo,  from  the  Allegha- 
nies  to  the  Rockies,  should  come  to  Cairo 
for  their  natiu'al  exchanges,  for  the  cotton, 
sugar,  tobacco  and  rice  of  the  South.  This 
was  the  natural  oi'der  of  things,  and  only 
the  most  untoward  events  could  abrogate 
this  law  of  God. 

The  South  was  rich  and  prosperous,  and 
only  cared  to  exchange  her  gold  for  every- 
thing that  was  produced  north  of  Cairo.  The 
North  had  emerged  from  the  gloom  of  bank- 
ruptcy, and  her  agriculture  and  manufact- 
ories were  beginning  to  multiply  and  grow 
to  the  amazement  of  mankind.  The  peoj^le 
looking  to  the  South  for  their  markets  and 
the  South  looking  to  the  North  for  her  sup- 
plies and  from  Maine  to  the  Rio  Grande, 
fi'om  Oregon  to  Florida,  was  peace,  plenty, 
prosperity,  happiness.  Commerce  created  the 
demand  for  a  line  of  steamers  from  Cairo  to 
New  Orleans,  and,  like  all  the  imperious  de- 
mands of  trade,  that  want  was  supplied, 
and,  commencing,  two  of  the  largest  steam- 
boats were  loaded  weekly  in  Cairo  for  New 
Orleans,  and  in  the  early  part  of  1861,  tri 
weekly  steamers  were  loaded  in  the  same 
trade.  Here  was  the  commencement  of  what 
was  to  be,  had  it  not  been  interrupted,  the 
natural  growth  of  an  incomparable  trade  and 
exchanges.  The  Ohio  boats  and  the  Upper 
Mississippi  and  Missouri   River  boats  would 


have  been  content  to  contine  their  trade  to 
their  separate  rivers.  The  growth  of  this 
would  have  brought  the  railroads  from  the 
East  and  the  West,  radiating  from  Cairo 
like  a  golden  halo,  and  hence  the  true  and 
natural  development  of  the  Mississippi  Val- 
ley would  have  gone  on  and  on,  and  the  West 
would  have  focused  aboiit  Cairo.  This 
obedience  to  the  natijral  laws  would  have 
been  as  beneficial  to  the  larger  portions  of 
this  great  valley  as  to  Cairo.  What  a  won- 
derful world  we  would  have  had  here  ere 
this,  had  this  commencement  been  peacefully 
followed  out!  Ruthless,  indeed,  was  the 
hand  that  struck  down  this  bright  hope  of 
the  human  race,  and  the  memory  of  the  au- 
thors of  such  ruin  deserve  eternal  execration. 
But  war.  bloody,  brutal  war,  was  precipitat- 
ed upon  the  country,  and  the  North  and  the 
South,  instead  of  giving  and  receiving  the 
blessing  of  peace  and  trade,  stopped  the  flow 
of  kindness,  brotherly  love,  rich  abundance 
and  happiness,  and  tiu'ned  upon  each  other 
like  enraged  beasts,  and  bartered,  exchanged 
and  trafficked  in  blood  and  death,  and  the 
infant  life  of  such  fair  promises  was  crushed 
out  under  the  heel  of  war  and  the  skeleton 
of  desolation  and  unutterable  woe  took  its  seat 
in  every  family  circle  in  the  South.  And  the 
wai'  made  millionaires  in  the  North  who  begin 
to  bud  in  the  fat  army  contracts  that  were 
shoveled  out  to  the  fortunate,  to  those  who 
bribed  their  way  to  colossal  fortunes.  The 
South  was  wounded, maimed,killed  and  almost 
perpetually  ruined.  The  North  grew  rich, 
demoralized,  triumphant,  fierce  and  inap- 
peasable,  and  deep  beneath  the  pomp  and 
show  of  preternatural  glitter  and  wealth, 
was,  in  fact,  but  little  better  ofif  from  the  in- 
curable poison  and  pangs  of  real  suflfering 
than  was  the  South. 

But  the   appalling  revolution  in  the  Mis- 
sissippi  country  was   complete.     The    com- 


162 


IIISTOHY  or  CAIRO. 


manding  avenues  of  trade,  commerce  and 
travel  had  beeo  as  completely  changed  as 
could  have  resulted  from  a  change  of  the 
topography  of  the  whole  country.  The 
dreadful  blow  fell  the  heaviest  upon  South- 
ern Illinois,  Cairo  and  the  Lower  Mississippi 
River.  At  first  when  Cairo  was  made  an 
armed  fortification  and  the  river  blockaded, 
the  Illinois  Central  ^Railroad,  no  longer 
taxed  to  its  utmost  capacity,  carrying  the  fruits 
of  industry  and  peace,  was  merely  an  avenue 
for  the  transporation  of  ai'mies  and  war  sup- 
plies. Then  the  town  was  paralyzed  and 
the  whole  community  was  thrown  out  of 
employment.  After  a  season,  the  paymaster 
came,  and  he  began  to  scatter  money  in  im- 
mense amounts  among  the  soldiers.  Then 
what  was  called  business  again  came  into  life 
and  the  town  was  converted  into  a  busy  sut- 
ler's tent;  the  camp-followers  flooded  the 
place,  the  floating  population  came,  the  vile 
with  the  good,  tent  theaters,  dives  and  bells 
on  earth  held  high  carnival  by  day  and  by 
night.  The  contractor,  the  soldier,  the  spec- 
ulator, the  gambler,  the  thief,  the  highway 
robber — the  vicious  of  every  sex,  age  and 
condition,  jostled  each  other  in  the  street 
throngs,  and  plied  their  vocations  defiantly. 
And  the  fools  in  their  heart  said  "  the  war 
has  helped,  not  hurt,  Cairo."  They  saw  the 
flow  of  cheap  money,  and  they  shut  their 
eyes  to  the  avalanche  of  demoralization. 
Eventually,  as  the  war  progressed,  the  river 
was  opened  from  Cairo  to  New  Orleans.  Once 
more  Union  armies  with  bristling  forts  com- 
manded the  river  at  all  the  towns  and  cities, 
and  the  rebel  flying  batteries,  slipping  in 
between  the  fortified  points  at  every  oppor- 
tunity and  firing  upon  helpless  steamers, 
and  doing  small  damage  as  a  rule.  The 
railroads  in  the  South  were  all  destroyed, 
and  tne  demands  for  transportation  for  the 
army,  as  well  as  for  a  country  stripped  bare 


by  war,  were  immense,  and  at  once  steamboat 
stock  became  the  most  desirable  property. 
The  northern  docks  and  ways  were  put  to 
work  and  the  finest  and  largest  boats  that 
had  ever  plied  the  waters  were  pushed  to 
completion,  and  all  this  was  grists  to  Cairo's 
mill.  To  such  an  extraordinary  extent  did 
this  necessity  push  the  steamboat  business, 
that  for  one  year  the  daily  average  of  boats 
at  the  Cairo  wharf  reached  thirty-five,  out- 
side of  the  local  packets  that  made  daily 
trips  or  more.  This  was  much  the  condi- 
tion of  afifairs  all  over  the  North;  million- 
aires sprung  into  existence,  and  demoraliza- 
tion fed  upon  the  vitals  of  the  country  like  a 
secret  consuming  fire. 

The  war  was  fought  and  ended,  and  spec- 
ulation and  peculation  took  its  place,  until  it 
became  a  venial  misdemeanor  to  be  laughed  at 
as  a  joke  to  speculate  in  the  coffins,  grave- stones 
and  decaying  bodies  of  the  dead  soldiers,  and 
in  the  breathing  bodies  of  their  living  families 
The  rich  grew  richer,  the  poor  poorer,  and 
the  cheap  money  and  the  calloused  con- 
sciences of  the  nation  pursued  their  reckless 
course  of  evil.  The  South  lay  a  prostrate 
people,  without  money,  without  credit,  and 
often  without  food;  there  Government  bayo- 
nets and  negroes  were  supreme,  and  the  voice 
of  the  people  was  not  the  voice  of  God.  The 
North  was  bloated  with  Government  bonds  at 
thirty-five  cents  on  the  dollar,  and  a  cheap 
money  that  flowed  through  the  hands  of  the 
rich  as  from  a  ceaseless  fountain.  There 
being  no  longer  fat  war  contracts,  they  en- 
tered upon  still  fatter  Government  railroad 
contracts — robbing  the  Government  of  its 
credit,  bonds  and  lands,  in  amounts  wholly 
incomprehensible.  And  the  Northern  cities 
that  were  in  this  current — a  current  largely 
changed  from  North  to  South  to  the  East  and 
West,  grew  and  spread  and  gathered  mighty 
powers,    and    threw  out   the    strong   arm  of 


HISTORY  OF   CAIRO. 


163 


railroads,    and   in  a  day   became  wonderful 
and  magnificent  cities. 

This  is  the  faintest  outline  shadow  over 
which  men  grew  wild,  joyous  and  gleesome, 
and  sang  their  pyeans  and  shouted  their  ac- 
claims, and  pronounced  the  saddest  page  in 
the  book  of  time,  a  blessed  era  of  unmixed 
joy,  so  good  that  it  beatified  the  deaths  of 
the  millions  who  perished  in  the  war  and 
the  many  more  than  millions  who  worse  than 
perished. 

This  sporadic  prosperity  of  all  lines  of 
business  in  Cairo  continued  for  quite  three 
years  after  the  close  of  the  war;  but  this  was 
the  settling  of  the  muddied  waters,  and  at 
the  beginning  of  the  year  1869,  it  had  about 
all  passed  away  and  the  railroad  and  river 
business  was  at  its  ebb.  Business  was 
largely  again,  as  at  the  commencement  of 
the  war,  to  be  re-organized  and  started  in 
accord  with  the  new  surroundings.  The 
population  of  the  town  slowly  decreased,  and 
the  crush  for  houses,  both  business  and 
private,  had  changed  to  occasional  empty 
ones,  and  unconsciously  Cairo  began  to  get 
ready  for  the  unparalleled  panic  and  bank- 
ruptcy that  was  fast  coming  to  the  country — 
settling  day,  merely,  for  the  carnival  decade; 
when  business  men  of  the  country  cried  out 
for  a  bankrupt  law,  by  which  they  could  pay 
their  debts  with  an  oath  or  two,  and  the 
threshold  of  these  courts  presented  the  mar- 
velous spectacle  of  a  rush  and  crush  of  busi- 
ness men  to  get  to  the  ear  of  the  court  first, 
that  perhaps  exceeded  anything  the  world 
ever  saw.  And  an  army  of  a  million  tramps 
marched  over  all  the  country,  devouring  the 
people's  substance  and  making  no  more  com- 
pensation therefor  than  do  the  devastating 
grasshoppers.  Then  Cairo  suffered  only  in 
common  with  pretty  much  all  the  country, 
but  she  was  less  prepared  than  a  few  other 
places,  particularly  her  rivals  that  had  stolen 


the  golden -egged  goose  during  the  war,  and 
therefore,  instead  of  merely  standing  still 
during  these  long,  painful  years,  she  lost 
much  that  it  took  years  to  replace.  Some  of 
the  effects  of  the  war  may  be  understood 
better  when  it  is  stated  that  M.  B.  Harrell 
estimated,  in  the  year  1864,  that  there  were 
12,000  people  in  the  city.  When  the  town 
emerged  from  the  panic,  the  sanguine  only 
claimed  a  population  of  6,000,  and  it  is  very 
doubtful  if  there  were  more  than  4,000  in- 
habitants, if  the  negro  population  had  been 
excluded  from  the  estimate.  The  war  found 
Cairo  with  a  population  of  5,000  souls  and  a 
solid  growth,  business  and  prospects  that 
could  not  be  mistaken.  The  war  and  the 
panic  left  her  with  about  the  same  popula- 
tion, and  all  business  demoralized  and  pros- 
trated. The  fifteen  years  had  witnessed  her 
gilded  but  unsubstantial  zenith  and  her 
dreary  nadir.  The  descent  was  great,  but  it 
was  best  that  solid  bottom  should  be  reached, 
severe  as  the  trial  was,  before  stopping.  In 
1879,  after  people  had  been  long  enough  on 
"  bed  rock  "  to  fully  realize  the  situation  of 
affairs,  there  started  up,  once  more,  a  day  of 
prosperity  for  the  city.  Not  a  spasmodic 
jump  that  makes  men  dizzy  and  sets  the  peo- 
ple wild,  but  a  steady,  healthy  growth  that 
is  always  fair  and  full  of  promise.  A  healthy 
business  set  in;  new  enterprises  were  started, 
and  the  gradual  and  permanent  increase  of 
citizenship  was  soon  inaugurated;  real  es- 
tate, while  it  rose  in  price  but  little,  yet  it 
found  a  market,  and  those  generally  wanting 
to  sell  could  easily  find  a  cash  customer.  And 
this  cheerful  state  of  affairs  has  continued  to 
this  hour,  and  from  this  last  and  really  se- 
verest of  Cairo's  ordeals  has  come  the  fol- 
lowing permanent  and  substantial  improve- 
ments : 

The  Elevator. — And  since  this  real  revival, 
there    has    come   to  the  place  many  marked 


16i 


HISTORY   OF  CAIRO. 


and  valuable  improvements,  among  which  we 
may  enumerate  the  elevator,  built  by  the  Il- 
linois Central  road.  There  is  no  liner  struct- 
ure of  the  kind  in  the  country,  and  it  will 
long  stand  upon  the  bank  of  the  river  as  a 
conspicuous  monument  to  Cairo's  commerce. 
It  has  a  capacity  of  800,000  bushels  and  is 
so  constructed  that  additional  buildings, 
doubling  its  present  capacity ,may  at  any  time 
be  added.  It  has  every  modern  improve- 
ment and  the  latest  appliances  for  its  pur 
poses,  and  cost  about  $300,000.  The  men 
who  projected  this  magnificent  structure  are 
in  a  position  to  know  the  wants  of  the  local- 
ity, and  they  wei'e  not  anticipating  the  prob- 
abilities of  years,  but  answering  the  call  of 
the  present. 

The  Singer  Seiving  Machine  Company — 
Have  put  up  extensive  works  and  are  now  en- 
gaged in  adding  still  more  and  greater  im- 
provements. The  purpose  here  is  the  con- 
struction of  cabinets  for  its  machines.  Its 
extensive  works  at  South  Bend,  Ind.,  had 
become  insiiffioient  for  its  purposes,  and  an 
agent  was  sent  out  to  select  a  new  location. 
After  a  careful  examination  of  numerous 
points  in  the  Southwest,  Cairo  was  found  to 
possess  greatly  superior  advantages  over  all 
other  puints.  Among  the  advantages  of  the 
place  are: 

1st.  Lumber  can  be  rafted  to  the  door  of 
the  factory  via  the  Tennessee,  Cumberland, 
Ohio,  Mississippi  and  Missouri  Kivers  and 
their  tributaries  at  a  saving  of  about  $10 
per  thousand  feet  over  present  cost,  of 
freight  to  South  Bend. 

2d.  Some  of  the  most  important  centers  of 
the  Singer  Company's  trade,  such  as  St. 
Louis,  Kansas  City,  New  Orleans,  Cincin- 
nati, Pittsburgh  and  other  points,  can  receive 
finished  work  by  river  from  Cairo.  The 
Elizabethport  factory,  which  takes  one-quar- 
ter of  the  product  of  the   South  Bend  works, 


can  be  supplied  by  river  to  Pittsburgh,  thence 
by  rail  into  the  company's  yards  at  Eliza- 
bethport. Boston,  Philadelphia  and  other 
eastern  depots  can  be  supplied  by  the  same 
route,  or  by  steamer  via  New  Orleans. 

3d.  Eight  railroads  enter  at  Cairo  diverg- 
ing east,  south  and  west,  securing  additional 
facilities  for  obtaining  lumber  and  other 
supplies  at  low  rates,  besides  giving  the  city 
unusual  advantages  as  a  distributing  point. 
If  desired,  finished  work  can  be  shipped  East, 
all  rail,  at  much  lower  rates  than  from  South 
Bend,  owing  to  the  competition  in  rail  freights. 
The  immense  quantit}^  of  hardware  and  trim- 
mings required  by  the  Singer  Company  can 
be  laid  down  in  Cairo  from  the  east  cheaper 
than  in  South  Bend.  Last  but  not  least,  the 
enormous  quantity  of  cabinet  work  demanded 
by  the  Em'opean  trade  can  be  shipped  by 
water  via  New  Orleans,  and  laid  down  at  the 
company's  Glasgow  factory — at  which  all 
machines  for  the  European  trade  are  made — 
as  cheap  as  they  can  now  be  sent  from  South 
Bend  to  the  American  coast. 

Immense  tracts  of  hardwood  timber  sur- 
round the  city  in  all  directions,  and  the  Sin- 
ger Company  has  already  secured  control  of 
the  timber  on  a  tract  of  eighteen  square 
miles,  all  of  which  can  be  delivered  by 
wagon  at  the  works — the  longest  haul  not 
exceeding  six  miles. 

The  Singer  factory  have  secui'ed  a  factory 
site  of  twenty-four  acres,  including  a  valua- 
ble river  front — and  is  one  of  five  corporations 
owning  all  the  river  front  surrounding  Cairo 
on  both  rivers — and  has  now  one  brick  build- 
ing 80x65,  three  stories,  another  100x70, 
another  50x48.  These  are  to  be  used  only 
for  cutting  their  lumber  and  gluing  it  into 
form,  the  motive  power  being  a  double- 
cylinder  engine  and  four  Babcock  &  Wilcox 
sectional  boilers  of  75-horse- power  each. 

The  cabinet  works  proper  when  completed 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


165 


will  consist  of  five  buildings,  each  60x500  feet 
three  stories  high,  with  ample  space  be- 
tween for  protection,  and  connected,  at  each 
story  self-supporting  ridges;  all  elevatoi's 
and  stair  cases  will  be  on  the  outside  of  the 
buildings  which  will  be  divided  by  tire  walls 
every  hundred  feet.  The  motive  power  of 
this  immense  bee-hive  of  industry  will  be 
supplied  by  eight  Babcock  &  Wilcox  boilers 
of  180-horse-power  capacity  each,  and  an  800- 
horse-power  engine.  There  will  be  twelve 
dry  kilns,  each  holding  50,000  feet  of  lum- 
ber. Employment  will  be  given  to  1,000 
hands. 

Halliday  House. — This  surpasses  a  hotel 
in  all  the  meaning  of  that  word  as  applied 
to  small  cities.  It  is  simply  a  magnificent 
hostelry  that  is  one  of  Cairo's  institutions. 
It  is  understood  by  those  who  have  not  vis- 
ited it,  that  it  is  the  old  St.  Charles  Hotel 
repaired  and  fixed  up  in  regal  style.  It  is 
much  more  than  this;  it  is  a  new  hotel, elegant, 
substantial,  with  a  complement  of  every 
modern  perfection  of  the  most  elegant  hotels 
in  even  the  largest  cities  of  the  country. 
More  massive  houses  have  been  built,  and 
that,  perhaps,  had  more  expensive  outside 
ornamentation  or  inside  filagree  work,  but 
none  more  solid  and  wholly  comfortable  than 
this,  and  this  applies  as  well  to  the  intei-nal  ap- 
pliances and  the  furnishing  as  well  as  to  the 
main  building.  And  we  have  no  hesitation  in 
pronouncing  the  dining  room,  with  its  three 
entire  sides  lit  up  by  spacious  windows  for 
light  and  ventilation,  as  the  most  complete 
and  cozy  that  we  ever  sat  down  to  in  a  hotel. 

The  Halliday  House  stands  where  the  St. 
Charles  stood,  and  that  is  about  all  the  connec- 
tion between  them.  The  present  proprietor, 
Ml.  Parker,  whose  life  work  and  study  has 
been  how  to  keep  the  finest  hotel,  spent  a 
long  time  traveling  through  the  different 
cities   of    the    country,  examining    the   best 


hostelries  and  noting  every  valuable  late  im- 
provement or  invention  in  the  same,  and 
when  he  had  obtained  all  possible  informa- 
tion in  this  line  the  work  on  the  Halliday 
House  was  commenced,  and  each  and  every 
improvement  noted  was  added  without  regard 
to  labor  or  expense,  and  when  all  was  fin- 
ished, the  doors  were  thrown  open  to  the 
public  in  the  full  conviction  that  he  had  the 
completest,  if  not  the  lai'gest  hotel  in  the 
world. 

A  Neiv  Enterprise. — Taking  front  rank 
among  the  business  enterprises  of  the  city 
of  Cairo  are  the  market  gardening  and  floral 
interests  of  Mr.  G.  Des  Rocher.  This  gen- 
tleman came  to  the  vicinity  of  Cairo  in  1872, 
and  on  a  limited  scale,  having  no  capital, 
began  what  has  since  developed  into  a  lucra- 
tive and  very  attractive  business.  Two  years 
later,  he  leased  forty  acres  of  land  of  the 
Cairo  City  Property  Company,  and^since  that 
date  he  has  constantly  increased  his  facilites 
for  carrying  on  his  immense  enterprise.  His 
first  impulse  was  to  supply  the  city  demand 
for  garden  vegetables,  but  finding  that  it 
was  insufficient  to  his  trade,  he  turned  his 
attention  to  Chicago  shipment,  and  has 
shipped  as  much  as  two  car  loads  of  vege- 
tables in  a  day.  He  gives  employment  to  a 
large  force  of  hands  of  the  laboring  class 
annually,  distributing  among  this  class 
about  $4,000  of  Chicago's  money,  which  fact 
alone  merits  the  encouragement  of  every 
thinking  mind  in  Caii*o. 

Not  only  has  he  sought  to  supply  the  exist- 
ing wants  of  the  people,  but  knowing  well 
the  science  of  business,  has  sought  to  create 
a  want,  that  he  might  supply  it.  The  better 
to  accomplish  this  desire,  he  added  a  floral 
department  to  his  business,  which,  while 
pi'oducing  an  income,  goes  far  toward  culti- 
vating a  taste  for  the  beautiful  in  nature, 
offering  a  resort  alike  to  the  young  and  old, 


166 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


where  the  mind  of  the  matured,  laden  with 
business  cares,  or  fraught  with  the  sorrows 
of  life,  as  well  as  the  minds  of  the  young, 
occupied  with  the  lighter  and  more  trivial 
things,  are  transported  from  the  beauties  of 
nature  up  to  nature's  God.  He  has  six  green- 
houses, having  an  aggregate  of  6,000  square 
feet  of  glass  surface;  these  houses,  as  well 
as  his  extensive  hot-houses,  are  supplied  with 
a  complete  system  of  cisterns  and  under- 
groaad  piping,  the  whole  famished  with 
water  from  a  drive  well  centrally  located.  A 
matter  in  connection  with  his  business, 
worthy  of  the  attention  of  the  agriculturist, 
is  his  system  of  converting  every  particle  of 
waste  vegetable  growth  into  a  valuable  fertil- 
izing medium. 

While  his  enterprise  is  not  a  railroad  or  a 
national  bank,  it  is  one  that  requires  a  bus- 
iness energy,  a  vast  amount  of  actual  toil, 
and  is  an  important  factor  in  the  intricate 
list  of  Cairo's  financial  resources  for  which 
we  think  words  of  commendation  are  due  to 
Mr.  Des  Rocher. 

Cotton  Oil  Mill. — These  extensive  works 
found  Cairo  the  best  point  in  the  South  or 
West  for  the  construction  o  :  a  mill  for  the 
production  of  this  oil,  that  is  destined  soon 
to  be  one  of  the  great  industries  of  the  world. 
American  invention  has  pried  out  the  fact 
that  from  the  cotton  seed — a  mere  waste 
heretofore — can  be  made  one  of  the  very  fin- 
est oils  in  the  world. 

Ice  Factory. — This  splendid  factory  was 
constructed  by  an  incorporated  company,  the 
leading  members  of  which  are  Charles  Gal- 
ligher,  George  E.  O'hara  and  Frank  L.  Gal- 
igher.  The  cost  of  the  construction  and 
fixtures  was  150,000,  and  has  a  capacity  of 
fifty  tons  a  day.  Although  just  started,  it 
Las  revolutionized  the  ice  trade  here  and  well 
may  it  have  done  this  so  readily,  as  its  work 
shows   for   itself,    as  they   make  ice  wholly 


from  distilled  water  and  its  superiority  over 
the  natural  production  is  so  plain  and  palpa- 
ble that  there  can  be  no  comparison  between 
them. 

Flouring  Mills. — There  are  two,  Galigher's 
and  Halliday's.  Mr.  Galigher's  is  the  older 
of  the  two,  and  yet  it  is  rather  a  modern  insti- 
tution, and  most  extensive  and  perfect,  with 
all  modern  improvements.  The  Halliday  Mill 
has  just  been  overhauled,  enlarged  and  sup- 
plied with  all  the  latest  roller  processes.  The 
extent  of  this  improvement  may  be  inferred 
when  we  state  they  were  put  in  at  an  expense 
of  $40,000,  and  has  a  capacity  of  600  bar- 
rels a  day. 

Halliday^s  Saw  Mill  is  another  late  and 
immense  Cairo  improvement,  said  by  com- 
petent judges  to  be  the  completest  thing  of 
its  kind  in  the  world,  and  in  this  connection 
we  may  mention  Halliday's  coal  dump — 
Maj.  Halliday's  own  invention — as  the  most 
complete  and  perfect  thing  of  the  kind  in  the 
country. 

Opera  House. — The  old  Athenaeum, a  frame^ 
has  been  torn  away,  and  one  of  the  neatest 
and  coziest  little  theaters  in  the  country  has 
taken  its  place.  It  is  the  pride  of  the  peo- 
ple and  the  admiration  of  the  actors  who 
have  visited  it. 

Commission  Houses. — The  extensive  com- 
mission houses  of  Halliday  Bros.,  How  Bros., 
J.  M.  Philips  &  Co.,  Thistlewood  &  Co., 
and  the  great  amount  of  business  transacted 
by  each,  shows  that  with  the  many  other  of 
the  old  and  solid  pioneer  commission  mer- 
chants here,  Caii'o  is  becoming  a  very  impor- 
tant shipping  point  again. 

The  patent  brick  machine  of  McClure  & 
Coleman,  together  with  the  very  large  yard 
of  Mr.  Jacob  Klein,  sufficiently  evidences  the 
fact  that  such  building  material  in  Cairo 
finds  an  extensive  market. 

No  less  than  six  fii-st-class  railroads  have 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


167 


come  to  Cairo  since  1878.  A  splendid  union 
depot  has  been  constructed  and  here  are  ac- 
commodated the  Wabash,  the  SL  Louis  & 
Cairo,  the  Mobile  &  Ohio,  the  Iron  Mountain 
and  the  Texas  &  St.  Luuis.  The  Mobile  & 
Ohio  Railroad  has  erected  at  the  foot  of 
Eighth  street,  a  local  freight  depot  that  is  a 
spacious  and  elegant  building.  The  Alex- 
ander County  Bank,  in  its  first-class  bank 
building,  is  also  one  of  Cairo's  very  substan- 
tial and  solid  institutions. 

Improvements  that  may  be  considered  as 
now  started  and  on  their  way,  and  that  are 
certain  to  be  completed  at  an  early  day  are, 
among  many  others,  the  Cairo  Public  Li- 
brary, to  b«  known  as  the  Safford  Memorial 
Hall,  the  grounds  of  which  are  on  Washing- 
ton and  Seventeenth  streets.  This  is  due,  we 
believe,  entirely  to  Mrs.  A.  B.  Safford,  and 
when  completed  will  give  Cairo  a  building 
that  will  stand  appropriately  to  the  memory 
of  her  husband,  A.  B.  Safford,  deceased. 
The  wholesale  hardware  houses,  including 
about  everything  made  of  iron,  are  Mr.  Bross' 
and  Mr.  Woodward's;  and  in  drugs  the  house 
of  Barclay  Bros.,  and  that  of  Paul  G.  Schuh. 
There  are  four  wholesale  dry  goods  houses, 
the  heaviest  of  which  are  Goldstein  &  Rosen- 
water,  and  that  of  C.  R.  Stewai-t,  the  New 
York  store,  Patier  proprietor,  although  a  very 
young  house  in  business,  has  already  sold  at 
wholesale  $250,000  worth  of  goods  in  a  year. 
The  beer  bottling,  soda  and  seltzer  and  min- 
eral trade  has  grown  to  immense  proportions 
here  recently.  Mr.  A.  Lohr  and  Henry 
Brei^han  each  have  extensive  concerns,  and  a 
wide  market  to  supply  in  this  and  adjoining 
States.  Mr.  John  Sproat  carries  on  the 
same,  and  he  adds  to  this  the  trade  in  fresh 
butter,  eggs  and  vegetables.  He  loads  his 
own  cars  and  sends  them  to  New  Orleans, 
Mobile  and  other  Southern  cities,  the  seal  of 
the  car  only  broken   when   it   arrives  at  its 


final  destination.  No  less  than  three  planing 
mills  are  busy  preparing  the  lumber  for  the 
carpenters  of  Cairo  and  the  surrounding 
country,  to  wit,  that  of  Lancaster  &  Rice, 
Mr.  Walters  and  Mr.  Trigg.  Mr.  Eichohff's 
furniture  factory  and  wholesale  and  retail 
esablishment  is  an  institution  worthy  the  at- 
tention of  house-builders  and  housekeepers 
far  and  wide. 

We  only  claim  here  to  give  a  few  of  the 
leading  recent  improvements  in  Cairo.  There 
are  many  others,  all  going  to  show  that  just 
now  the  city  is  at  last  beginning  to  take  its 
proper  position  as  a  wholesale  manufactur- 
ing emporium— that  it  has  facilities  for 
bringing  together  the  raw  material  and  the 
factory  and  the  markets  where  the  manufact- 
ured  goods  are  to  be  sold,  that  is  possessed 
by  few  places  in  the  West.  Think  of  it! 
here  are  over  thirty  thousand  miles  of  tribu- 
tary shores  upon  our  navigable  rivers,  and 
already  eight  railroads  are  built,  with  Cairo 
as  the  terminus  of  the  majority  of  them,  and 
all  this  great  railroad  development  is  of  a 
very  recent  date.  In  a  very  short  time  it 
must  become  as  important  a  railroad  point 
as  it  has  always  been  in  point  of  navigable 
waters.  Soon  it  will  possess  the  shortest 
route  to  the  Atlantic  seaboard  over  the  Ches- 
apeake &  Ohio  Railroad,  this  road  forming 
one  continuous  line  as  soon  as  a  small  gap 
is  completed,  and  on  which  the  work  is  being 
pushed.  In  a  few  months,  it  will  communi- 
cate direct  ^\ith  the  City  of  Me:iico  over  a 
direct  line  of  one  continuous  railroad  from 
Cairo  to  that  city.  A  railroad  from  here 
running  a  little  east  of  north,  is  under  con- 
struction, connecting  Cairo  with  the  Toledo, 
Cincinnati  <fe  St.  Louis  Narrow  Guage  Rail- 
road, and  this  will  give  it  still  another  di- 
rect New  York  connection  in  addition  to  the 
several  now  possessed. 

Steamboats. — Among  the  many  pilots  who 


168 


HISTOKY  OF   CAIRO. 


have  stood  at  the  wheel  and  guided  the  boat 
to     the     Cairo     "  throw-out-the-gang-plank 
place,"  was  no  less  a  character  than  the  hu- 
morist, Mark  Twain.     It  is  not   certain  but 
that  the  wag  f/ot  his  first  lesson  in  spinning 
characteristic  yarns  when  he  was  a  cub,  list- 
ening to  the  old  pilots,  while  waiting  in  port, 
spin  "  river  yarns,"  some  of    which   were  of 
immense  size,  and  some  again  very  amusing, 
and  when  the  older  heads  had  run  over  their 
oft-told  stock  stories   and  the  "  kid  "  was  in- 
duced to   try  his  prentice  hand,   and  failed 
most  funerealy,  the  old  fellows  laughed  out  of 
sympathy  and  politeness,   and    this    proved 
the  boy's  ruin.     It  was  a    fatal    encourag^e- 
ment    that    transformed    Mark    from    what 
might    have    been    a    valuable    and    noble 
life  at  the  wheel,  to  a  miserable,  heartbreak- 
ing,   continual    weeping    fountain,    and   he 
never   stopped  until   he  has  just   now  bm-- 
dened  the  "  Father  of  Waters  "  with  a  book 
entitled  "  Life  on  the  Mississippi."     A   re- 
viewer of  this  book  says:     "  He  was  born  on 
the  banks  of   the  gr^at  stream.     The   river 
shaped  the  course  of  his  youth  and  his  life 
upon  its  bosom  as  pilot's  apprentice  and  pi- 
lot gave  him  the  Hxperienee  and  associations 
that  fitted  him  when  time  and  opportunity 
came   to   step   into   his  rightful  place  as  a 
really  great  and  typical  American  humorist." 
Now,    from  a  long  acquaintance  with  pilots, 
we  have  no  hesitation   in  saying  that   Mark 
might,   had  he  continued  with  them,    have 
eventually  become  not  only  a  pilot,   but  a 
jokist  of  no  mean  pretensions.   For  instance, 
we  remember  on  one  occasion  during  the  war 
of  being  one  of  a  party  seated   in  a  yawl  on 
our   way   to   one   of  the   new   gunboats  an- 
chored opposite  Cairo.      The  commander   of 
the  gunboat   and  several  officers   were  of  the 
party,  and  those  who  were   guests  had  been 
invited  to  go  on  board  the  boat,   as   she  was 
ready  to  go  up  the  Ohio  for  a  short  trial  run, 


and  was  going  to  test  a  400-pound  gun  that 
was  mounted  in  the  turret.  It  was  a  jolly 
party,  all  anticipating  a  mcst  pleasant  day. 
But  the  writer  noticed  one  man  in  the  crowd 
who  was  the  picture  of  despair  and  sullen- 
ness.  His  attention  was  arrested  by  the 
fierceness  of  this  man's  gloomy  mood.  After 
we  had  reached  the  vessel  and  an  opportun- 
ity presented  itself,  the  melancholy  gentle- 
man was  gradually  approached,  when  at  a 
point  no  one  else  could  hear  and  the  ques- 
tion asked:  "My  friend,  you  seem  to  be 
much  troubled ;  what's  the  matter  ?  "  In  the 
best  yellow-back  slang,  his  dark  eyes  flashed 
and  between  his  set  teeth  (not  a  false  set)  he 
hissed  like  an  escaping  volcano,  "  Matter! 
matter!  Helen  Blazes!  I'm  arrested!  pressed! 
as  a  pilot  on  this  limpin'  Lazarus  of  an  old 
gunboat,  and  Government  will  only  pay 
$350  a  month  for  pilots,  and  I  can  git  five 
and  six  hundred  on  the  boats.  Isn't  that  mat- 
ter enough  ?"  Now  here,  Mark,  was  a  true 
pilot  joke,  you  see,  with  a  $150  to  $200  a 
month  moral  in  it.  You  can  see  for  yourself 
what  you  have  missed.  A  half-dozen  such 
efforts  as  that  and  see  what  your  fortune 
now  would  be.  Do  your  own  figuring;  say  six 
jokes,  $200  per  month  each,  for  thirty  years. 
Any  old  Cairoite  will  recognize  the  follow- 
ing in  reference  to  raft  life  of  the  early  days 
on  the  river:  "In  the  heyday  of  the  steam- 
boating  prosperity,  the  river,  from  end  to 
end,  was  flanked  with  coal  fleets  and  timber 
rafts,  all  managed  by  hand  and  employing 
hosts  of  rough  characters.  Processions  of 
migthy  rafts — an  acre  or  so  of  white,  sweet- 
smelling  boards  in  each  raft,  a  crew  of  two 
dozen  men  or  more,  thx'ee  or  four  wigwams 
scattered  about  the  raft' s  vast  level  space  for 
storm  quarters — and  the  rude  ways  and  tre- 
mendous talk  of  their  big  crews,  the  ex- 
keelboatmen  and  their  admiringly  patroniz- 
ing successors;  for   we  used  to  swim   out  a 


^ 


a^  (S',  <^.e  cci.^c^, 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


171 


quarter  or  a  third  of  a  mile  and  get  on  these 
rafts  and  have  a  ride." 

By  way  of  illustrating  this  keelboat  talk 
and  manners,  and  that  now  departed  and 
hardly  remembered  raft  life,  the  author 
throws  in  a  chapter  from  a  book  which  he 
"  has  been  working  on  by  fits  and  starts  during 
the  past  five  or  six  years,  and  may  possibly 
finish  in  the  coiu'se  of  five  or  six  more."  It 
is  a  story  detailing  some  passages  in  the  life 
of  an  ignorant  village  boy.  son  of  the  town 
drunkard  of  the  author's  time  out  West. 
The  boy  had  run  away,  together  with  a  slave, 
and  in  floating  down  the  river  at  high  water 
and  in  dead  summer  time  on  a  fragment  of 
a  raft,  they  got  lost  in  the  fog  and  passed 
Cairo  without  knowing  it.  So  the  boy  swims 
out  to  a  huge  raft  in  the  dark,  hoping  to 
gain  the  information  by  listening  to  the 
talk  of  the  men.  The  odd,  rude  life  of  the 
raftsmen,  as  thus  witnessed  by  the  boy,  is 
graphically  described.  After  singing,  drink- 
ing and  dancing,  two  of  the  men  begin  to 
quarrel,  and  the  following  is  a  sjjecimen  of 
the  language  of  one  of  the  men  in  getting 
ready : 

"  He  jumped  up  in  the  air  three  times  and 
cracked  his  heels  together  every  time.  Ho 
flung  oS  a  buckskin  coat  that  was  all  hung 
with  fringes,  and  says  '  you  lay  thar  till  the 
chawin'-up's  done;'  and  flung  his  hat  down, 
which  was  all  over  ribbons  and  says,  '  You 
lay  thar  till  his  sufferin's  is  over.' 

"  Then  he  jumped  up  in  the  air  and  cracked 
his  heels  together  again  and  shouted  out: 

"  '  Whoo-oop!  I'm  the  old  original  iron- 
jawed,  brass-mounted,  copper-bellied  corpse - 
maker  from  the  wilds  of  Arkansaw!  Look  at 
me!  I'm  the  man  they  call  Suddeu  Death 
and  General  Desolation !  Sired  by  a  hurri- 
cane, dam'd  by  an  earthquake,  half-brother 
to  the  cholera,  nearly  related  to  the  small- 
pox on  the  mother's   side!     Look   at  me!     I 


take  nineteen  alligators  and  a  bar'l  of 
whisky  for  breakfast  when  I'm  in  robust 
health  and  a  bushel  of  rattlesnakes  and  a 
dead  body  when  I'm  ailing!  I  split  the 
everlasting  rocks  with  my  glance,  and  I 
squench  the  thunder  when  I  speak!  Whoo- 
oop  !  stand  back  and  giYe  me  room  according 
to  my  strength!  Blood's  my  natural  drink 
and  the  wails  of  the  dying  is  music  to  my 
ear!  Cast  your  eye  on  me,  gentlemen,  and 
lay  low  and  hold  your  breath,  for  I'm  'bout 
to  turn  myself  loose!' 

"  All  the  time  he  was  getting  this  off  he  was 
shaking  his  head  and  looking  fierce  and  kind 
of  swelling  around  in  a  little  circle,  tucking 
up  his  wristbands  and  now  and  then  straight- 
ening up  and  beating  his  breast  with  his 
fist,  saying:  '  Look  at  me,  gentleman!  I'm 
the  bloodiest  son  of  a  wild  cat  that  lives!' 

"  Then  the  man  that  started  the  row  tilted 
his  old  slouch  hat  down  over  his  right  eye; 
then  he  bent  forward  with  his  back  sagged 
and  his  south  end  sticking  out  far,  and  his 
fists  a  shoving  out  and  drawing  to  in  front 
of  him,  and  so  went  around  in  a  little  circle 
about  three  times,  swelling  himself  up  and 
breathing  hard,  and  he  began  to  shout  like 
this: 

"  '  Whoo-oop!  bow  your  neck  and  spread, 
for  the  kingdom  of  sorrow's  a  coming.  Hold 
me  down  to  the  earth,  for  I  feel  my  powers 
a- working!  Whoop!  I'm  a  child  of  sin,  don't 
let  me  get  a  start!  Smoked  glass  here  for  all! 
Don't  attempt  to  look  at  me  with  the  naked 
eye,  gentlemen.  When  I'm  playful,  I  use 
the  meridians  of  longitude  and  the  parallels 
of  latitude  for  a  seine  and  drag  the  Atlantic 
ocean  for  whales!  I  sci-atch  my  head  with 
the  lightning  and  purr  myself  to  sleep  with 
the  thunder!  When  I'm  cold,  I  bile  the  gulf 
of  Mexico  aud  bathe  in  it;  when  I'm  hot, 
I  fan  myself  with  an  equinoctial  storm;  when 
I'm  thirsty,  I  reach  up  and  suck  a  cloud  dry, 

10 


173 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


like  a  sponge;  when  I  range  the  earth,  hun- 
gry famine  follows  in  my  tracks!  Whoo-op! 
Bow  your  neck  and  spread.  I  put  my  hand 
on  the  sun's  face  and  make  it  night  on  the 
earth;  I  bite  a  piece  out  of  the  moon  and 
hurry  the  season;  I  shake  myself  and  crum- 
ble the  mountains!  Contemplate  me  through 
leather — donH  use  the  naked  eye!  I'm  the 
man  with  a  petrified  heart  and  boiler -iron 
bowels!  Whoooop!  Bow  your  neck  and 
spread,  for  the  pet-child  of  calamity's  a  com- 
ing.'" 

The  narrative  goes  on  to  show  how  a  little 
black  whiskered  chap  cooled  off  their  rage 
and  thrashed  them  both  for  a  couple  of 
chicken-livered  cowards. 

That  child  of  Sudden  Death  and  General 
Desolation  was  the  missing  "link,"  that 
leads  us  by  most  plainly  marked  footsteps 
up  to  the  pilot  joker,  and  back  to  his  pre 
historic  ancestors,  the  Cave  (of  Gloom) 
Dwellers.  No  reference  here,  Mark,  to  that 
settled  and  incurable  gloom  that  is  noted  in 
the  best  medical  works  as  characterizing  the 
wrecked  lives  of  your  readers. 

But  the  following  very  happy  description 
of  high  water  will  be  recognized  by  many 
a  Cairo  "tenderfoot"  as  a  side-splitting  joke: 

"  The  big  rise  brought  a  new  world  under 
my  vision.  By  the  time  the  river  was  over 
its  banks,  we  had  forsaken  our  old  paths,  and 
were  hourly  climbing  over  banks  that  had 
stood  ten  feet  out  of  water  before;  we  were 
shaving  stumpy  shores,  like  that  at  the  foot 
of  Madrid  bend,  which  I  had  always  seen 
avoided  before;  we  were  clattering  through 
chutes  like  that  of  82,  where  the  opening  at 
the  foot  was  an  unbroken  wall  of  timber, 
till  our  nose  was  almost  at  the  very  spot. 
Some  of  these  chutes  were  utter  solitudes. 
The  dense,  untouched  forest  overhung  both 
banks  of  the  crooked  little  crack,  and  one 
could  believe  that  human  creatures  had  never 


intruded  there  before.  The  swinging  grape- 
vines, the  grassy  nooks  and  vistas  glimpsed 
as  we  swept  by,  the  flowering  creepers  wav- 
ing their  red  blossoms  from  the  tops  of  dead 
trunks  and  all  the  spendthrift  richness  of 
the  forest  foliage  were  wasted  and  thrown 
away  there.  The  chutes  were  lovely  places  to 
steer  in;  they  were  deep  except  at  the  head; 
the  current  was  gentle;  under  the  '  points,' 
the  water  was  absolutely  dead,  and  their  vis- 
ible banks  so  bluff  that  where  the  tender  wil- 
low thickets  projected,  you  could  bury  your 
boat's  broadside  in  them  as  you  tore  along, 
and  then  you  seemed  fairly  to  fly." 

But  altogether  Cairo  remembers  with  much 
pride  the  fact  that  Sam  Clemens  (Mark 
Twain)  was  at  one  time  among  the  number 
of  pilots  that  belonged  to  her  trade.  And 
the  numerous  fraternity  here  will  read  his 
book  with  great  interest,  as  it  is  a  story 
whose  incidents  often  occurred  in  the  com- 
pany of  men  still  at  the  wheel.  While  no 
other  Cairo  pilot,  perhaps,  has  gained  the 
celebrity  that  has  Mark  Twain,  yet  there  are 
some  who  have  merited  a  more  lasting  im- 
mortality as  great  heroes — standing  at  the 
wheel  and  going  down  bravely  to  death  in 
the  sublime  act  of  protecting  and  saving  the 
lives  of  those  who  were  in  their  safe  keeping. 
The  fraternity  of  pilots  are  well  known  to 
most  of  the  people  of  Cairo.  They  are  a  sin- 
gular class  of  men,  and  their  lives  have  not 
been  a  careless  holiday.  But  it  was  during 
the  war  the  lives  of  many  of  them  were  filled 
with  terrifying  troubles.  A  couple  of  in- 
stances will  illustrate  our  meaning:  On  one 
occasion,  as  the  fleet  was  transporting  the 
troops  to  Fort  Donelson,  and^  the  stage  of 
the  water  and  the  point  in  the  river  had  been 
reached  by  the  flag -boat,  where  it  was  dan- 
gerous navigation,  the  officers  of  the  boat 
desired  to  tie  up  for  daylight,  but  the  mili- 
tary authorities   demurred  to  this.     It  was 


HISTOEY  OF  CAIKO. 


173 


very  dark,  and  the  boat  became  entangled, 
and  in  backing  and  starting  up  she  was  rnn 
into  an  overhanging  tree  and  the  chimneys 
knocked  down.  The  usual  wild  consterna- 
tion followed,  and  the  affrighted  soldiers 
imagined  everything  bad.  But  after  awhile, 
when  they  found  the  boat  was  not  sunk  in 
the  bottom  of  the  river,  they  set  about  hunt- 
ing for  the  cause  of  the  disaster.  In  some 
way,  they  learned  the  pilot  lived  in  Louis  - 
ville,  and  this  was  enough,  he  was  a  rebel 
and  had  deliberately  conspired  to  destroy 
them  all  by  sinking  the  boat.  In  a  moment 
it  was  a  mob.  Now  an  ordinary  mob  is  the 
silliest  monster  that  ever  lived,  yet  a  soldier 
mob  makes  a  common  one  appear  as  Solomon 
and  Patience  enthroned  on  that  historical 
monument.  The  pilot  saved  his  life  by  se- 
creting himself.  Of  course,  the  soldiers  had 
no  evidence  against  the  pilot,  for  none  ex- 
isted. The  truth  afterward  turned  out  to  be 
that  he  had  rung  the  engineer  to  go  ahead 
when  he  made  the  mistake  and  backed. 

Another  incident  happened  in  the  river  in 
front  of  Cairo.  The  small  boat,  Echo,  was 
coming  down  the  Ohio  River  laden  with  sol- 
diers, and  struck  one  of  the  iron-clad  gunboats  \ 
that  split  her  hull  and  she  was  hopelessly 
wrecked.  The  wreck  floated  a  mile  or  so 
below  town  and  lies  on  the  Kentucky  bar  yet. 
No  lives  were  lost,  but  the  soldiers  at  once 
jumped  to  the  conclusion  the  pilot  purposely 
did  it  and  they  howled  for  his  blood.  In 
fact,  the  clamor  was  so  great  that  Wilson 
Dunn,  the  pilot,  was  arrested  and  tried  by  a 
court  martial.  As  he  was  clearly  innocent, 
it  is  probable  the  trial  saved  his  life.  The 
fact  that  these  gunboats  (turtles)  had  sunk  a 
number  of  boals  cut  no  figure  with  the  sol- 
diers, and  the  further  fact  that  the  pilot  was 
an  officer  of  the  Government,  as  true  and 
loyal  and  patriotic  as  ever  lived,  but  he  did 
not  wear  an  infantry  or  cavalry  uniform  and 


the    idiots    therefore    believed    he    was    a 
traitor. 

The  present  distinguished  engineer,  J.  B. 
Eads,  was  another  man  who  made  his  start 
in  life  among  the  Cairo  river  men.  He  lived 
for  some  years  here,  and  came  here,  we  be- 
lieve, some  time  in  the  forties  as  a  member  of 
the  firm  of  Eads  &  Nelson.  Mr.  Eads'  his- 
tory  is  so  identified  with  the  Mississippi 
River  that  one  cannot  be  given  without  the 
other,  his  vast  enterprises,  commencing  as 
they  did  in  Cairo,  have  so  extended  his  name 
and  fame  throughout  the  world. 

In  a  preceding  chapter,  we  gave  an  account 
of  the  coming  down  the  Ohio  River  of  the 
steamer  New  Orleans,  Capt.  Roosevelt  — 
the  first  boat  that  ever  floated  upon  Western 
waters,  A  few  words  in  reference  to  the  his- 
tory of  this  historical  boat  may  not  be  out 
of  place  here.  She  was  built  in  the  Fulton 
&  Livingston's  ship  yards,  Pittsburgh:  ca- 
pacity, one  hundred  tons;  was  furnished  with 
propelling  wheel  to  the  stern  and  two  masts. 
Mr.  Fulton  at  that  time  believet3  that  sails 
would  be  indispensable  to  a  steamboat.  The 
boat  was  placed  in  the  New  Orleans  and 
Natchez  trade,  and  continued  in  this  trade 
for  a  short  time,  when  she  struck  a  snag  near 
Baton  Rouge  and  sunk.  The  passage  of  this 
first  steamboat  down  the  river,  making  her 
landings  and  obtaining  fuel,  etc.,  at  an  aver- 
age rate  of  three  miles  an  hour,  loft  in  her 
wake  an  excitement  that  could  not  have  been 
exceeded  had  a  flying  angel  appeared  to  the 
people. 

The  second  boat  that  ever  came  by  the 
doors  of  Cairo — before  the  doors  were  here — 
was  the  Comet,  Daniel  D.  Smith,  owner,  D. 
French,  builder.  Her  machinery  was  con- 
structed on  a  plan  invented  by  French,  in 
1809.  She  descended  the  river  in  1814. 
She  was  only  a  twenty-five-ton  boat.  She 
reached  New  Orleans  and  made  two  voyages 


174 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


to  Natchez  and  return  and  was  then  sold  and 
taken  to  pieces  and  her  engine  and  machin- 
ery were   put    in    a  cotton  factory. 

The  Vesuvius  was  the  third  boat  built  at 
Pittsbuvgh,  and  came  down  the  Ohio,  and  also 
in  the  year  1814,  'under  command  of  Capt. 
Frank  Ogden.  After  reaching  New  Orleans, 
she  started  to  return,  July  14,  and  grounded 
on  a  bar  about  700  miles  above  New  Orleans, 
where  she  remained  until  December  3,  when 
the  waters  rising,  she  floated  ofl"  and  re- 
turned to  New  Orleans.  During  1815-16, 
this  boat  continued  to  make  regular  trips  be- 
tween New  Orleans  and  Natchez.  She  was 
first  commanded  by  Capt.  Clement,  and  he 
was  succeeded  by  Capt.  John  De  Hart.  In 
the  latter  part  of  181 6,  as  the  boat  approached 
New  Orleans  with  a  valuable  cargo,  she  took 
fire  and  burned.  The  hulk  was  afterward 
raised  and  refitted  and  ran  in  the  New  Or- 
leans and  Louisville  trade  until  1819,  when 
she  was  condemned. 

The  fourth  boat  was  the  Enterprise,  built 
at  Brownsville,  Penn.,  by  D.  French,  and  his 
patent  engine  supplied.  This  was  a  seven- 
ty-five-ton boat.  She  made  two  voyages  to 
Louisville  in  1814,  under  Capt.  Gregg.  She 
was  loaded  with  ordnances  and  stores  for 
New  Orleans,  and  while  there,  Gren.  Jackson 
pressed  her  into  the  Government  service. 
The  Enterprise  loaded  and  left  New  Orleans 
for  Louisville  in  May,  1815,  and  arrived  at 
Louisville  safely,  making  the  trip  in  twenty- 
five  days.  This  was  the  first  trip  ever  made 
by  a  steamboat  from  between  these  two 
points. 

The  next  boat  in  order  of  appearance  was 
the  Washington,  constructed  by  Henry  M. 
Shreve.  The  hull  was  built  in  Wheeling 
and  engines  at  Brownsville,  Penn.  This 
was  the  first  double  "  decker  "  ever  con- 
structed, the  cabin  being  placed  between  the 
decks,  and  the  boilers  placed  on  deck.      This 


daring  innovation  made  the  Washington  look 
very  much  as  steamboats  do  now.  Tbeu  in 
French's  patent  the  engines  were  vibrating, 
but  Capt.  Shreve  caused  the  cylinder  to  be 
placed  horizontally.  All  engines  were  the 
single,  low-pressure  engines.  The  great  in- 
vention of  the  cam  cut- oflf  was  Capt.  Shreve's, 
and  this  was  added  to  the  machinery  of  the 
Washington.  When  thus  completed  and 
launched,  the  new  steamer,  not  only  new  in 
contraction  but  in  such  new  and  great  im- 
provements in  her  machinery,  that  it  leaves 
it  a  question  whether  Fulton  or  Shreve  was 
the  greater  inventor. 

On  the  24th  of  September,  1816,  the 
steamer  Washington  passed  successfully 
over  the  falls  at  Louisville,  and  made  a  suc- 
cessful trip  to  New  Orleans,  and  returned  to 
Louisville  in  November  following.  While 
the  boat  was  lying  at  the  wharf  in  New  Or- 
leans, she  was  visited  and  carefully  inspected 
by  Edward  Livingstone,  who  was  in  the 
West,  determined  to  assert  in  the  coiu'ts  the 
exclusive  right  of  Fulton  &  Livingston  to 
navigate  all  the  waters  of  the  United  States, 
a  right  they  claimed  under  their  patents. 
After  Livingston  had  inspected  the  Wash- 
ington, he  addi'essed  Capt.  Shreve  as  follows: 
"  You  deserve  well  of  your  country,  young 
man,  but  we  [referring  to  Fulton  &  Living- 
ston's monopoly  of  all  the  rivers]  shall  be 
compelled  to  beat  you  [in  the  courts]  if  we 
can." 

The  Washington  was  compelled  by  ice  to 
remain  at  the  Falls  all  winter  and  on  March 
12,  1817,  she  commenced  her  second  voyage 
to  New  Orleans.  On  her  return  she  made 
thw  trip  with  a  full  cargo  to  Louisville  in 
twenty-five  days.  And  from  this  time  all 
historians  may  date  the  real  commencement 
of  navigation.  The  wonderful  feat  of  the 
boat  produced  almost  as  much  excitement  as 
did  the  battle  of  New    Orleans.      Louisville 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


175 


gave  a  public  dinner  to  Capt.  Shreve,  and  in 
a  speech  he  predicted  that  the  trip  from 
New  Orleans  to  Louisville  would  yet  be 
made  in  ten  days.  People  smiled  with  gen- 
tle incredulity  at  this,  and  were  willing  to 
forgive  him  that  or  almost  anything  else  for 
what  he  had  done.  How  soon  after  this  it 
was  made  inside  of  live  days  Capt.  Shreve 
lived  to  see  and  all  the  world  knows  full  well. 
In  1852,  the  steamer  Shotwell  made  the  trip  in 
a  little  over  four  days.  In  1869,  the  Natchez 
and  the  R.  E.  Le^  made  their  celebrated 
race  from  New  Orleans  to  St.  Louis.  The 
record  time  to  Cairo  was  the  fastest  ever 
made,  but  some  stanch  old  river  men  claim 
that,  including  stoppages,  etc.,  the  J.  M. 
White,  built  by  Capt.  Swan,  a  noted 
builder  of  noted  boats,  made  the  best  record 
time  ever  yet  marked  between  New  Orleans 
and  Cairo. 

The  most  shocking  steamboat  accident  in 
the  world's  history  occurred  in  1864,  when 
the  steamer  Sultana  exploded  her  boilers 
just  above  Memphis,  when  on  her  way  from 
some  point  in  Arkansas  to  Cairo.  There 
were,  it  is  estimated.  2,350  souls  aboard — 
nearly  all  soldiers — ^^and  over  2,000  perished. 
It  was  in  the  night,  and  the  explosion  was 
the  most  terriffic  and  the  wreck  the  most 
complete  ever  known.  The  explosion  was 
followed  by  fire,  which  soon  consumed  the  lit- 
tle of  the  wi'eck  remaining  above  water. 
Capt.  J.  C.    Swann  was  killed. 

The  steamer  Majestic,  Capt.  J.  C.  Swann 
and  W.  C.  Kennett,  Chief  Clerk,  William 
Ferree,  Chief  Engineer,  on  the  25th  day  of 
May,  1835,  just  as  the  wheel  turned  to  round 
out  from  the  wharf,  exploded  her  boilers. 
She  was  on  her  way  North,  and  was  crowded 
with  deck  passengers,  many  of  whom  were 
Germans,  and  constituted  some  of  the  Ger- 
mans who  settled  in  and  around  Belleville, 
111.      The   flues  of   the  larboard    boiler  col- 


lapsed, it  is  supposed,  by  the  passengers  all 
passing  to  the  shore  or  starboard  side  of  the 
vessel  and  thus  careening  the  boat  until  the 
boiler  on  the  opposite  side  became  dry.  The  hot 
water  and  steam  scalded  about  sixty  of  ihe  deck 
passengers,  about  forty  of  whom  died  at  once 
or  within  twenty- four  hours,  and  were  buried 
at  Memphis.  The  injm-ies  and  fatalities 
were  confined  to  the  deck  passengers,  or 
those  who  happened  to  be  there. 

Among  the  survivors  of  that  shocking 
catastrophe  is  William  Lornegan,  of  Cairo, 
a  gentleman  well  and  long  known  to  the 
people  of  the  city.  To  look  at  Mr.  Lor- 
negan we  would  be  inclined  to  doubt  that 
he  was  a  real  survivor  of  a  steamboat  ex- 
plosion which  occurred  over  forty-eight  years 
ago. 

The  circumstances  were  these:  He 
was  an  infant  at  that  time,  a  little  more  than 
one  year  old,  and  the  father,  mother  and 
child  constitiited  the  family.  In  the  wild  din 
and  horror  following  the  <^xplosion,  Mr.  Lor- 
negan ran  to  the  yawl  and  pulling  it  up, 
jumped  in.  He  then  pulled  the  yawl  up  to 
the  deck  and  the  mother,  wrapping  the  baby 
in  a  shawl,  tossed  it  to  the  father,  who  stood 
up  to  catch  it.  The  motion  of  the  craft 
threw  him  just  at  the  moment  the  baby  was 
started  and  in  this  critical  instant  the  father 
th  ew  up  his  feet  and  in  this  way  protected 
the  child's  fall  and  saved  it.  He  then  drew 
up  the  yawl  and  the  mother  and  several 
others  were  soon  safely  in  it.  Then  there 
was  a  rush  of  the  excited  people,  and  they 
would  unquestionably  have  swamped  the 
yawl  except  for  the  forethought  again  of  Mr. 
Lornegan,  who  cut  the  rope  and  the  craft 
floated  away.  As  there  were  no  paddles  in 
it,  the  occupants  had  to  trust  to  the  current, 
but  the  boat  soon  touched  a  sand  bar  on  the 
Tennessee  side,  and  all  were  safely  landed. 
The  steamer  floated  a  short  distance  and  also 


17ti 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


lodged  on  the  Tennessee  side,  the  damaged 
boiler  repaired  and  she  continued  her  route 
to  St.  Loiiis. 


The  fine  steamer,  J.  M.  White,  referred 
to  above,  was  sunk  just  below  Cape  Girar- 
deau, March  28,1843. 


CHAPTER  IX 


THE    CHURCH    HISTORY  — ST.    PATRICK'S  — GERMAN    LUTHERAN  —  PRESBYTERIAN  — BAPTIST  — 

METHODIST  AND  OTHER  DENOMINATIONS— THE   DIFFERENT  PASTORS— THEIR 

FLOCKS,  TEMPLES,  THE  CITY  SCHOOLS,  ETC.,  ETC. 


"How  beautiful  are  the  feet  of  them  that  preach 
the  Gospel  of  peace  and  bring  glad  tidings  of  good 
things." 

THE  German  Lutheran  Church. — This 
church  was  organized  in  the  year  1866, 
the  Rev.  J.  Dunsing  officiating.  There  were 
between  fifteen  and  twenty  members.  It  was 
named  the  Evangelical  Lutheran  Emanual 
Gemeinde  of  Cairo.  The  first  pastor,  Dun- 
sing,  officiated  from  October,  1866,  to  Oc- 
tober, 1869,  and  was  succeeded  by  Rev. 
Gustave  P.  Heilbig,  who  remained  in  charge 
until  February,  1873.  Then  Rev.  C. 
Durshner  was  placed  in  charge,  and  he 
remained  pastor  until  January  1,  1879. 
During  his  administration,  the  congregation 
concluded  to  build  a  brick  addition  so  as  to 
enlarge  the  church  facilities  and  provide  a 
suitable  school  room.  The  entire  building 
was  enlarged  and  raised,  and  a  brick  base- 
ment added,  and  a  part  of  the  addition  was 
fitted  up  for  a  store  room,  arranging  the  up- 
per rooms  for  the  pastor' s  residence,  etc.  The 
expense  of  these  additions  to  the  building 
was  $2,500  on  the  residence  and  business 
portions  of  the  building,  and  from  $1,000  to 
$1,500  expended  on  the  church  proper.  In 
1879,  E.  Knappe  was  installed  as  pastor  of 
the  chvurch,  and  he  remained  in  the  faithful 
and  efficient  discharge  of  his  duties  until 
November,  1881.   Since  August,  1882,  the  pres- 


ent able  and  efficient  pastor,  Rev.  C.  Sehuch- 
ard  has  filled  the  position  of  shepherdl^to  his 
flock  with  signal  ability  and  the  great  satis- 
faction of  his  people. 

The  Sunday  school  of  this  church  is  in  a 
flourishing  condition,  numbering  from  sev- 
enty-five to  one  hundred  pupils  in  constant 
attendance.  The  pious  pastor  of  the  church 
was  the  Superintendent,  assisted  by  Andrew 
Lohr,  until  1880,  when  Andrew  Lohr  was 
elected  Superintendent.  Mr.  Lohr  remained 
in  this  position  until  the  present  year  (1883), 
when  he  resigned,  and  the  present  pastor, 
Schuchard,  again  assumed  his  old  place  and 
continues  the  Superintendent  and  manager 
of  the  Sunday  school. 

The  church  also  has  a  ladies'  society, 
called  the  Freund  and  Jungfrauen  Verein, 
that  was  organized  in  the  year  1871,  under 
the  direction  and  control  of  the  minister, 
Heilbig.  The  aims  and  purposes  of  this  or- 
ganization are  the  good  of  the  church  and 
its  flock.  It  has  a  membership  averaging 
sixty  good  and  efficient  Christians. 

The  church  grounds  are  two  lots,  and  were 
purchased  by  the  members  of  the  church  in 
1878,  of  S.  Staats  Taylor,  agent  of  the 
Cairo  Trust  Property,  at  the  price  of  $100 
per  lot,  and  is  situated  on  Thirteenth  street, 
between  Washington  avenue  and  Walnut 
street 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


ITi 


The  present  board  of  trustees  consists  of 
H.  Schultz  and  Andrew  Lohr. 

The  basement  or  brick  portion  of  the 
church  is  noT\  used,  the  front  part  as  a 
school  room,  and  the  rear  as  a  parsonage  for 
the  minister,  and  the  entire  upper  or  frame 
part  of  the  building  is  dedicated  to  church 
purposes.  There  is  a  fine  pipe  organ  in  the 
main  room,  and  from  the  main  building  as- 
cends the  cupola,  where  hangs  the  church 
bell,  that  in  deep,  musical  tones  upon  the 
holy  Sabbath  calls  the  people  to  "  come  to 
the  house  of  God  and  worship. " 

The  Christian  Church  was  organized  in 
Cairo  in  May,  1865,  the  original  members 
consisting  of  IVIr.  and  Mrs.  A.  B.  Fenton,  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  S.  R.  Hay,  J.  C.  Talbott,  Mrs. 
Gilkey  and  daughter,  Mrs.  Sarah  Clark,  Mr. 
R.  J.  Cundiff,  and  others  whose  names  can- 
not now  be  ascertained.  In  the  organization, 
there  were  about  twenty  members.  A  little 
earnest  band  of  devout  Christians,  planting 
the  cross  of  their  Master  in  His  vineyard  and 
consecrating  a  spot  where  they  could  gather 
in  response  to  the  "come  let  us  worship." 
Of  all  those  who  constituted  that  little  band 
who  first  assembled  together  here,  but  two 
are  left  namely,  Mr.  J.  C.  Talbott  and  Mrs. 
Sarah  Clark.  In  1866,  the  Cairo  City  Prop- 
erty Company  donated  the  church  four  lots 
on  Eighteenth  street,  between  Washington 
and  Walnut  streets,  and  during  the  same 
year  the  church  building  now  occupied  was 
erected.  It  is  a  frame,  36x55,  and  cost 
$4,500.  The  pastors,  in  the  order  named, 
have"  occupied  the  pulpit:  Rev.  L.  Brown, 
of  Ohio;  John  Friend,  of  Pennsylvania;  R. 
B.  Tremble,  of  Kentucky.  For  some  years 
they  have  had  no  regular  preaching  and  no 
Sunday  school.  There  are  meetings,  how- 
ever, every  Sunday  of  a  social  and  spiritual 
character.  The  oflficers  of  the  church  are: 
Trustees,   S.  R.  Hay,    G.  M.   Alden,   Charles 


Armstrong,  J.  C.  Talbott,  Mr.  Saul;  Elders, 
J.  R.  Hay,  William  McClosky;  Deacons,  A. 
B.  Fenton  and  J.  C.  Talbott. 

St.  Patrick''s — Catholic — is  situated  on 
the  corner  of  Ninth  street  and  Washington 
avenue;  was  built  in  1855  by  Rev.  Father 
McCabe,  who  was  its  first  pastor.  The  build- 
ing is  a  substantial  frame  on  a  rock  base- 
ment, and  cost  $3,600,  most  of  which  was 
collected  from  the  hands  employed  in  the 
construction  of  the  Central  Railroad  during 
the  years  1853  and  185-4.  The  basement, 
up  to  1882,  was  used  as  a  parochial  school. 
The  lots  upon  which  the  building  stands 
were  donated  by  Col.  S.  S.  Taylor.  In  the 
latter  part  of  1857,  Rev.  Father  McCabe  was 
succeeded  in  the  pastorate  by  Rev.  Thomas 
Walsh,  who,  on  Sunday,  the  15th  day  of 
March,  1861,  and  while  addressing  his  con- 
gregation on  the  heinousness  of  the  sin  of 
blasphemy,  was  suddenly  attacked  with  par- 
alysis of  the  heart,  and  which  in  a  few 
hours  terminated  in  death.  His  remains 
lie  buried  beneath  the  altar  from  which  he 
loved  so  well  to  offer  up  the  holy  sacrifice. 
May  he  rest  in  peace.  At  this  time,  Rev.  L. 
A.  Lambert  was  appointed  to  fill  the  vacancy 
occasioned  by  the  demise  of  Father  Walsh, 
and  continued  to  serve  the  congregation  un- 
til October,  1867,  at  which  time,  his  health 
becoming  impaired,  he  received  permission 
to  go  to  New  York.  He  ia  at  present  in 
charge  of  a  parish  in  Waterloo,  in  that  State. 
The  bishop  at  once  supplied  the  spiritual 
wants  of  his  people  by  the  appointment  of 
Rev.  P.  Brady,  who  faithfully  attended  to 
the  wants  of  his  flock  until  the  latter  part  of 
1869,  when  he  was  appointed  to  another 
parish.  He  is  now  pastor  in  the  city  of 
Springfield,  111.  Father  Brady  was  imme- 
diately succeeded  by  Rev.  P.  J.  O'Hallo- 
ran,  who  continued  in  charge  until  Novem- 
ber,   1873,    when  he  was   sent  to  East  St. 


ITS 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


Louis  to  take  the  place  of  Rev.  Francis  Za- 
bel,  who  was  assigned  to  the  Cairo  pastorate. 
His  parishioners  and  the  citizens  of  Cairo 
generally  will  bear  cheerful  testimony  to 
his  worth  as  a  Christian  minister,  in  remain- 
ing at  this  post  of  duty  night  and  day  during 
the  terrible  yellow-fever  epidemic  of  1878. 
At  his  own  request  he  was,  in  1 879,  trans  - 
f  erred  to  a  parish  at  Bunker  Hillj  this  State, 
where    he   now  resides. 

To   supply   the    place    made    vacant    by 
Father  Zabel's  departure,  Rev.  Thomas  Mas- 
terson  was  sent  from  Mound  City,    but  the 
malarial  atmosphere'of  Egypt  soon  made  sad 
work  with  a  physically  delicate  constitution. 
He  left  his  flock  for  a  more  healthful  location 
in  the  town  of  Paris,  HI.,  his  present  address. 
In  the  latter  part  of  1882,  Rev.  J.  Murphy 
assumed  charge  and  is  the  present  incumbent. 
St.  JosejMs  Catholic  Church. — In  the  year 
1870,     the    Catholic    congregation    having 
wholly  outgrown  the  capacities  of   St.  Pat- 
rick's Chui'ch,  a  few  of  the  leading  members 
determined  to  build  a  new  one.     This  move- 
ment was  finally  made  by  the  Germans  for 
two  reasons:  1st.     St.  Patrick's  Church  was 
too  small  for  the  congregation,    and  second, 
the   Germans   desired    to   have  a  church  of 
their  own,  in  which  they  hoped  to  have  serv- 
ices in  their  native  language.     The  princi- 
pal movers  in  this,   and  those  who  made  the 
principal  donations  for  the  new  church  were 
Peter  Saup,  William  Kluge,   Hemy  Lattner, 
Valentine  Riser,  Jacob  Klein,   George  Latt- 
ner,   Jacob    Lattner,     Nicholas    Veithe,  L. 
Saunders,    William    Weber,    Joseph    Bross, 
Joseph  Bruikle  and  William  Brendle. 

The  organization  was  effected  in  1870,  and 
the  church  commenced  and  the  building  com- 
pleted in  1871,  being  an  elegant  brick  build- 
ing, 65x100  feet,  and  cost  $23,000,  and  is  by 
far  the  finest  church  in  the  city,  and  has  an 
elegant  organ. 


Father  ^Hoffman  was  the  first  pastor,  and 
soon  grew  in  the  love  and  confidence  of  his 
people,  until  he  became  a  great  favorite. 
The  present  pastor  is  the  Rev.  Father 
O'Hara. 

Presbyterian  Church. — This  church  build- 
ing was  erected  in  January,  1856.  The 
Rev.  Robert  Stewart,  through  whose  efforts 
the  building  had  been  erected,  preached  the 
dedication  sermon.  It  cost  about  $2,796. 
The  three  lots  upon  which  it  stands  were  do- 
nated by  the  trustees  of  the  Cairo  City  Prop- 
erty. The  funds  for  building  the  church  were 
raised  mostly  abroad,  through  the  efforts  of 
Rev.  Robert  Stewart,  who  was  building  agent 
of  the  Alton  Presbytery.  It  was  turned  over 
to  the  trustees  of  the  first  Presbyterian  so- 
ciety of  Cairo,  free  from  debt.  The  ladies  of 
the  Alton  Presbyterian  Church  donated  the 
carpet  for  the  aisles,  a  Bible  for  the  pulpi  t 
and  the  chandelier  and   lamps 

This  was  the  first  Protestant  church 
erected  in  Cairo.  A  Presbyterian  society 
was  formed  on  the  9th  of  January,  1856. 
The  constitution  was  signed  by  the  following 
members:  C.  D.  Finch,  Marion  Hall,  R.  H. 
Cunningham,  William  T.  Finch,  J.  D.  Mc- 
Coughtry,  John  C.  White,  D.  Hui'd,  Edward 
Willett,  Frank  Shipman,  S.  Staats  Taylor, 
H.  H.  Candee,  E.  Norton,  C.  A.  Bullock,  B. 
S.  Harrell,  Julia  A.  Harrell  and  Maria  A. 
White. 

The  first  board  of  trustees  consisted  of 
Dr.  Coffee,  M.  Hall,  C.  D.  Finch,  Edward 
Willett  and  William  T.  Finch.  The  latter 
was  elected  chairman  and  Edward  Willett 
Secretary.  The  church  building  and  prop- 
erty and  society  were  fully  equipped  now, 
but  there  was  still  no  church  proper  and  no 
pastor.  Steps  were  taken  by  the  society  to 
remedy  this  defect,  and  Mr,  Kenware  was 
called  to  act  as  the  first  pastor.  Mr.  Kenware 
stayed  only  eight  months,    when   becoming 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


179 


afflicted  with  a  bronchial  afiection,  he  ten- 
dered his  resignation,  Avhich    was    accepted. 

The  Rev.  A.  L.  Payson  was  then  called  at 
a  salaiy  of  $1,000  a  year,  and  accepted.  Yet 
there  was  one  act  necessary  to  make  a  com- 
plete church,  and  that  was  the  signing  of 
the  articles  of  faith  and  covenant.  This 
was  done,  and  thus  a  complete  organization 
effected,  ten  persons  signing,  to  wit:  Will- 
iam T.  Finch,  Mrs.  Rosanna  White,  Mrs. 
Catharine  Stewart,  Mrs.  Maiy  Jane  Stewart, 
Mrs.  S.  L.  Bowers,  Miss  Harriet  A.  Paine, 
James  Degear,  Mrs.  Sarah  Ann  Belle w,  Mrs. 
Lucy  A.  Leftcowitcb  and  Mrs.  A.  P.  Ryan. 

The  Rev.  Payson  seems,  by  the  church  re- 
cords, to  cut  no  other  figure  than  being  called 
and  accepting.  Possibly  he  was  washed  out 
in  the  June  flood  of  that  year,  and  this  is 
suggested  by  a  resolution  of  November,  1858, 
passed  as  a  feeler,  to  confer  with  Rev.  A.  G. 
Martin  and  ascertain  if  he  would  accept  a 
call  at  $500  a  year.  At  all  events  Mr.  Mar- 
tin accepted  the  $500  proposition  and  came 
on,  and  for  two  years  labored  faithfully  with 
his  flock.  He  organized  a  Sunday  school, 
which  is  said  to  be  the  first  ever  organized 
in  Cairo,  but  the  truth  is  there  was  a  school 
of  the  kind  here  in  1848.  The  first  Sunday 
of  the  Presbyterian  school  there  were  only 
fifteen  pupils  pi-esent,  but  since  that  time  it 
has  grown  to  more  than  300. 

Under  the  ministrations  of  Mr.  Martin, 
eleven  members  were  added  to  the  church — 
ten  of  these  by  letters.  This  minister  re- 
signed in  January,  1861.  The  church  was 
without  a  pastor  until  June,  1862.  The 
war  was  here,  and  men's  thougths  seemed  to 
run  in  other  channels.  But  the  Central 
Railroad  had  arranged  to  pass  preachers  free 
to  Cairo  to  hold  services,  and  many  came 
from  a  distance  and  services  were  tolerably 
regular. 

An  incident  in  the  life  of  this  church,  as 


well  as  in  the  life  of  Commodore  Foote,  is 
well  worth  relating:  After  the  capture  of 
Fort  Henry,  Commodore  Foote  returned  to 
Cairo  to  cai'e  for  his  wounded  and  to  get  ready 
for  the  Fort  Donelson  fight,  and  as  he  sjient 
Sunday  in  the  city,  as  was  his  wont,  he  went 
to  his  loved  chruch — the  Presbyterian — of 
which  he  was  a  zealous  member.  On  this 
particular  Sunday  the  congregation  assem- 
bled, but  the  minister  who  was  expected 
failed  to  come.  After  waiting  awhile,  the 
audience  began  to  grow  impatient.  At  this 
juncture  the  Commodore  arose  and  walked 
deliberately  to  the  pulpit,  and,  making  some 
remark  as  to  the  duty  of  letting  one's  light 
shine,  there,  in  the  full  trappings  of  his  uni- 
form of  war,  conducted  the  services  in  regu- 
lar order.  He  read  his  text  and  addressed 
the  congregation  in  a  most  earnest  manner, 
and  closed  the  exercises  with  a  fervent  and 
touching  prayer.  He  died  in  1863,  as 
faithful  a  soldier  of  Jesus  Christ  as  he  was 
of  his  country.  This  remarkable  incident  is 
well  remembered  by  many  citizens  of  Cairo 
who  were  present  in  church  on  that  Sunday 
in  February. 

In  June,  1862,  Rev.  Robert  Stewart  was 
called  to  attend  the  spiritual  wants  of  the 
congregation,  and  for  two  years  filled  the 
place  to  the  great  satisfaction  of  his  flock. 
Mr,  Stewart  preached  his  farewell  sermon 
November  6,  1864.  It  was  during  his  pas- 
torate that  the  frame  portion  of  the  parson- 
age was  erected,  and  he  secured  this  money, 
as  he  had  for  the  church,  mostly  from 
abroad. 

January  1,  1865,  Rev.  H.  P.  Roberts  be- 
came the  pastor  of  the  church.  He  had  re- 
ceived a  collegiate  education,  and  when  the 
war  came  he  went  into  the  army  as  a  Lieu- 
tenant; was  wounded  severely.  He  served 
as  pastor  for  the  years  1865-66.  He  received 
a  salary  of  $1,500  per  annum,  and  ceased  hi 


180 


HISTORY  OF  CAIEO. 


connection  with  the  church  as  its  minister  in 
the  early  part  of  1867. 

Rev.  Charles  H.  Foote  succeeded  him,  and 
he  continued  in  the  position  until  1871. 

The  brick  parsonage  was  erected  in  1867, 
at  a  cost  of  $2,363.70,  and  in  1868  a  line 
organ  was  purchased. 

Rev.  H.  B.  Thayer  took  charge  as  pastor 
in  January,  1872,  and  remained  until  March, 
1875,  and  he  was  succeeded  by  the  present 
pastor,  the  Rev.  B.  Y.  George,  who  has  al- 
ready been  with  this  chiirch  more  than  seven 
years.  None  of  his  predecessors  gained  a 
stronger  hold  upon  the  affection  of  his  peo- 
ple. 

In  the  autumn  of  1878,  Cairo  was  visited 
by  that  terrible  scourge,  the  yellow  fever. 
There  were  a  few  cases  in  August — all  fatal. 
A  number  of  cases  in  September,  nearly  all 
fatal,  and  still  more  in  October,  about  one- 
half  of  them  fatal;  several  cases  in  Novem- 
ber, but  most  of  them  mild.  In  all  there 
were  about  100  cases  in  Cairo  and  about  one- 
half  proved  fatal. 

In  September,  INIr.  George  was  in  Colum- 
bia, Mo.,  with  his  family,  taking  his  annual 
vacation.  When  the  news  reached  him  that 
the  disease  had  broken  out  again  and  in  a 
virulent  form  in  Cairo,  and  that  the  town 
was  in  a  panic  and  hundreds  fleeing  to  places 
of  safety,  and  that  all  prudent  people  who 
could  get  away  from  the  town  were  doing  so, 
we  say,  upon  learning  this  dreadful  state  of 
affairs,  he  left  his  family  in  Missouri  and 
came  here,  and  remained  during  the  epi- 
demic, visiting  sick,  comforting  the  dying 
and  burying  the  dead. 

The  whole  number  of  persons  connected 
with  the  church  during  the  twenty-five  years 
of  its  existence  is  372.  Mrs.  Rosanna  White 
is  the  only  one  out  of  the  original  ten  mem- 
bers that   is  now  living  in  Cairo. 

[We    desire   to   return  our  thanks  to  Mr. 


George  Fisher,  from  whose  extensive  history 
of  the  Presbyterian  Church  we  gather  the 
above  data. — Ed.]. 

Episcopal  Church. — There  were  members 
of  this  church  in  Cairo  from  the  time  or  be- 
fore the  founding  of  the  city.  But  like  the 
general  Protestant  people,  the  number  was 
not  enough  to  organize  a  church  body  for  a 
long  time,  and  the  history  of  the  Presbyterian 
Church  shows  that  these  select  few  would 
identify  themselves  often  with  some  other 
church  and  assist  them  in  the  holy  work, 
awaiting  the  arrival  of  enough  of  their  own 
to  form  their  separate  organization.  In  this 
way  the  curious  fact  is  several  times  illus- 
trated in  the  Presbyterian  Church  that  there 
would  be  a  reduction  in  their  number  in  the 
face  of  an  increase  in  the  population. 

Diiring  the  early  forties,  when  there  were 
only  four  or  five  families  in  the  place  who 
were  communicants  in  the  Episcopal  Church, 
occasional  services  were  conducted  in  a  little 
chapel  in  one  of  the  Holbrook  houses,  by  the 
Rev.  J.  p.  T.  Ingraham,  now  of  St.  Louis. 
Mr.  Ingraham  was  a  resident  of  Cairo  as 
early  as  1840.  Daring  all  his  time  here, 
there  were  not  members  enough  to  officer  a 
society  even,  much  less  a  church,  and  it  was 
only  at  rare  intervals  that  the  few  people  of 
that  chui'ch  met.  After  the  calamity  of 
1841,  the  number  was  so  reduced  that  it  was 
only  when  some  of  their  friends  would  join 
them  in  attendance  that  they  could  get 
enough  together  to  have  even  the  simplest 
chui'ch  services.  There  was  a  slow  increase 
up  to  1850,  when  several  families  came  and 
once  more  the  early  settlers  began  to  look 
forward  to  the  day  when  they  would  have  a 
prosperous  church  here.  During  these  times, 
the  Rev.  Mr.  Clark  often  conducted  the 
church  services. 

In  the  year  1857,   a  movement  was  made, 
for  the  members  to  separate  themselves  from 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


ISl 


the  other  churches,  and  by  combining  to- 
gether they  hoped  to  form  the  nucleus  around 
which  a  church  would  soon  grow.  And  in 
the  early  part  of  1858,  grounds  were  secured 
and  steps  taken  to  erect  a  church  building. 
The  place  selected  was  the  lot  on  which  now 
stands  the  elegant  office  of  the  Cairo  Trust 
Property.  A  large  lot  of  material  was  de- 
livered upon  the  ground,  such  as  brick, 
stone,  lime  and  other  material,  when  the 
flood  of  June,  1858,  came  and  left  such  de- 
struction in  its  wake  that  for  the  nonce  the 
project  was  abandoned. 

During  the  war,  Chaplain  S.  McMasters 
who  was  stationed  here,  frequently  held 
services  for  the  congregation  in  the  Presby- 
terian Church  building,  and  the  congregation 
constantly  grew  and  strengthened.  Novem- 
ber 3,  1852,  there  was  a  preliminary  meet- 
ing held  at  the  office  of  Col.  S.  S.  Taylor, 
and  there  were  present  at  this  meeting  Rev. 
I.  P.  La  Baugh,  S.  S.  Taylor,  Walter  Falls, 
Capt.  McAllister,  Charles  Thrupp,  J.  C. 
White,  H.  H.  Candee,  John  Rosenberg,  W. 
H.  Morris,  L.  Jorgensen,  J.  B.  Humphrey 
and  others.  Rev.  La  Baugh  was  made 
chairman,  and  J.  B.  Humphreys  Secretary. 
Vestrymen  were  elected  as  follows:  S.  S. 
Taylor,  Senior  Warden;  H.  H.  Candee,  Junior 
Warden;  and  J.  B.  Humphreys,  Charles 
Thrupp,  Capt.  Pennock,  Col.  A.  E.  "Watson, 
AV.  H.  Mon-is,  A.  B.  Saflford,  J.  C.  White, 
R.  M.  Jennings  and  Walter  Falls,  Vestryme  n 

The  second  attempt,  and  a  successful  one, 
too,  to  build  a  church  was  commenced  in 
1861,  the  building  now  occupied  on  Four- 
teenth street,  between  Washington  avenue 
and  Walnut  street.  This  building  cost  about 
$7,000,  and  is  the  most  elegantly  finished 
inside  and  furnished  of  any  church  in  the 
city.     They  have  an  organ  costing  $2,000. 

November  5,  1862,  Rev.  I.  P.  La  Baugh 
was  called  to  the  pastorate  and  accepted,  and 


for  more  than  two  years  he  continued  in 
that  position,  winning  the  good  will  and  love 
of  his  entire  people  in  an  eminent  degree. 
His  successor  was  Rev.  Thomas  Lyle,  who 
was  installed  as  pastor  in  charge  in  January, 
1864. 

In  1863,  J.  C.  White  was  Senior  AVarden, 
and  H.  H.  Candee,  Junior  Warden,  and  the 
Vestrymen  were  A.  B.  Safford,  J.  Q.  Har- 
man,  J.  B.  Humphreys,  W.  P.  Halliday,  A. 
M.  Pennock,  S.  B.  Halliday,  S.  Staats  Tay- 
lor, A.  E.  WatsoD,  W.  H.  Morris  and  A.  H. 
Irvin. 

April  25,  3864,  there  was  a  re -organization 
of  the  parish,  and  on  November  24  of  that 
year,  the  church  was  completed  and  conse- 
crated by  Bishop  Whitehouse.  And  the  Ves- 
trymen were:  Senior  Warden,  J.  C.  White; 
Junior  Warden,  H.  H.  Candee;  and  A.  E. 
Watson,  A.  J.  Irvin,  J.  B.  Humphreys.  A. 
B.  Safiford,  S.  B.  Halliday,  W.  P.  Halliday, 
H.  Lifferts  and  L.  Jorgensen. 

Rev.  Lyle  was  succeeded  in  1867  by  W.  W. 
Rafter,  who,  for  a  little  more  than  one  year, 
discharged  the  high  functions  of  his  office 
with  eminent  ability  and  piety. 

In  1868,  Rev.  James  W.  Cole  was  called, 
and  he  also  remained  about  one  year. 

Rev.  Edward  (loan  was  his  successor.  His 
pastorate,  for  three  years,  the  time  he  was 
with  his  church  here,  was  marked  by  good 
works  and  a  building-up  of  God's  temple. 
His  administration  was  eminently  satisfac- 
tory to  the  congregation,  and  the  love  and 
prayers  of  his  flock  followed  him  when  he 
retired  in  1872, 

Rev.  Charles  A.  Gilbert  was  his  successor , 
and  for  five  years  he  labored  for  God's  king- 
dom and  glory  'among  the  good  people  of 
Cairo.  He  was  an  unselfish,  pious  and  holy 
man,  and  his  stay  here  will  long  be  remem- 
bered by  his  people. 

In  April,  1877,   Rev.  M.   R.  St.  J.  Dillon 


182 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


Lee  was  called,  and  at  once  entered  upon  his 
sacred  mission  among  his  people.  But  in 
the  midst  of  his  good  work  he  sickened  and 
died,  May  30,  1879. 

Rev.  D.  A.  Bonnar  accepted  the  position 
of  pastor,  and  was  installed  in  the  early  part 
of  the  year  1879,  where  he  remained  a  dili- 
gent, faithful  and  able  minister  to  his  flock 
until  January,  1881,   when  he  resigned. 

He  was  immediately  succeeded  by  Rev.  F. 
P.  Davenport,  the  present  incumbent,  and 
it  is  the  hope  of  all  that  he  may  be  long 
spared  to  his  people  and  the  church  he  loves 
so  well,  and  his  works  are  already  doing  so 
much  for  the  cause  of  morality  and  religion. 

The  present  officers  of  the  church  are:  H. 
H.  Candee,  Senior  Warden;  W.  B.  Gilbert, 
Junior  Warden;  and  M.  F.  Gilbert,  D.  J. 
Baker,  E.  L.  Manager,  Frank  L.  Galigher, 
John  H.  Janes  and  Charles  Pink,  Vestiymen. 

A  Sunday  school  was  established  in  1863, 
and  H.  H.  Candee  was  made  Superintendent, 
a  position  that  he  has  held  continuously  wver 
since  and  still  holds,  of  itself  a  sufficient 
testimony  that  he  is  the  right  man  in  the 
right  place.  Among  the  earliest  of  the  Sunday 
school  teachers  were  W.  H.  Morris,  Mrs.  W. 
R.  Smith,  Miss  Josie  Taylor  (Halliday),  Miss 
Remington  and  Mrs.  Elizabeth  White.  From 
the  first  to  the  present  day,  the  school  has 
been  one  of  the  flourishing  and  successful 
ones  of  the  city.  Among  its  first  youthful 
scholars  are  now  found  some  of  its  most  val- 
ued teachers,  and  others  have  here  imbibed 
in  their  young  lives  their  first  and  deepest 
lessons  in  the  simple  and  sublime  story  of 
the  God- Man,  and  have  gone  out  in  the 
world  bearing  testimony  to  the  faith  that 
■was  in  them. 

The  Methodist  Church. — Through  the  kind- 
ness and  labors  of  Rev.  J.  A.  ScaiTitt,  pres- 
ent pastor,  we  were  enabled  to  gather  the 
following  notes  of  the  coming  and  building 


up  of  the  church  in  this  city.  There  were 
Methodists  here  as  citizens  as  soon  almost  as 
there  was  anybody  else.  In  the  earliest  set- 
tlement of  the  town,  when  three  or  four  fam- 
ilies constituted  all  there  were  in  the  place, 
Rev.  T.  C.  Lopas  and  H.  C.  Blackwell  would 
occasionally  visit  the  town  and  held  regular 
services  and  preach  to  the  little  flock,  liter- 
ally in  the  name  of  where  "  two  or  three  are 
gathered  together."  Then  Ephraham  Joy, 
the  Presiding  Elder,  made  two  visits  here,  and 
on  a  recent  occasion  on  writing  to  Rev.  Mr. 
Scarritt,  he  gives  some  of  his  long- time- ago 
impressions  of  Cairo,  and  some  account  of 
the  early  efforts  of  the  church  people.  He 
says  in  substance:  The  Cairo  Mission  was 
traveled  by  Henry  C.  Blackwell,  the  circuit 
embracing  Alexander  County.  Then  Rev. 
Lopas  was  sent  to  take  his  place.  There 
were  only  six  or  eight  families  or  members 
of  the  church  at  this  time  in  the  place,  and 
these  were  mostly  of  the  transient  population. 
The  first  quarterly  meeting  was  appointed 
for  Cairo,  January  1  and  2,  1853,  but  Brother 
Lopas  left  there  about  a  week  before  this 
and  attended  a  quarterly  meeting  of  the 
Thebes  Mission,  about  fourteen  miles  south 
of  Jonesboro.  As  soon  as  possible,  I  sup- 
plied Cairo  with  Rev.  J.  S.  Armstrong,  who 
remained  about  three  months,  and  then  it 
was  left  out  for  awhile.  Efforts  were  made 
to  have  Rev.  Lopas  visit  it  from  his  Thebes 
Mission,  but  failed.  The  scheme  was  then 
adopted  to  have  the  minister  from  the  ad- 
joining work — Thebes  or  Pulaski  or  Caledo- 
nia— visit  Cairo,  but  these  efforts  were  like, 
the  Elder  says,  trying  to  sit  down  on  two 
chairs  and  slipping  between  them.  The 
place  was  left  deserted  by  the  church  for 
two  years.  The  Elder  in  the  meantime  vis- 
ited Cairo  twice,  in  April  and  in  August. 
He  traveled  down  the  country  in  his  buggy. 
The    appearance   of  the   place   on   his    first 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


183 


visit  he  graphically  describes.  He  says  he 
carefully  counted  everything — houses  and 
boats — in  which  human  beings  were  livinor. 
His  recollections  are  the  boats  and  houses 
about  equaled  each  other,  and  there  were  but 
few  of  either,  and  some  of  the  houses 
were  the  merest  shanties — the  boats  mostly 
small  craft  tied  to  the  shore,  some  in  the 
water  and  some  on  dry  land — some  lying, 
just  as  the  water  left  them,  and  others  had, 
after  a  fashion,  been  propped  up  and  were 
stranding  tolerably  level.  He  again  says: 
Bishop  Ames  presided  over  our  conference 
in  1852,  and  visited  us  at  the  conference  at 
Mount  Carmel.  He  told  me  that  he  passed 
Cairo  on  his  way,  and  remarked,  "  I  wonder 
what  we  sent  a  man  there  for."  The  Mis- 
sion Committee  at  their  next  conference  gave 
it  as  their  opinion  that  one  quarterly  install- 
ment uf  appropriation  (for  Cairo)  should  be 
refunded,  and  the  Elder  says:  "I  covered  it 
into  the  treasury,  although  I  felt  that  I 
much  needed  it."  The  two  visits  referred 
to  above  by  the  Elder  were  made  during  his 
first  year.  He  again,  in  the  fourth  year  of 
his  office,  visited  it  twice.  He  says  that  this 
time  he  came  by  the  I'ailroad.  During 
that  year  it  was  connected  with  the  Pulaski 
Mission  for  quarterly  meeting  purposes,  and 
Pulaski  embraced  what  had  been  Thebes  and 
Caledonia  Circuits.  That  year.  Rev,  Hughey 
spent  most  of  the  year  traveling  and  solic- 
iting funds  to  erect  a  church  in  Cairo.  He 
succeeded  well  in  procuring  funds,  but  could 
do  but  little  in  building  up  the  congregation. 
Elder  Joy  had  secured  two  lots  for  the 
chui'ch  building,  and  these  afterward  were 
exchanged  for  those  now  occupied  by  the 
church  by  Rev.  Hughey.  The  Elder  again 
says:  "  I  preached  in  Cairo  dui'ing  my  visit 
in  August,  1853.  I  do  not  i-emember  where 
the  preaching  was — perhaps  in  some  room  in 
a  hotel.     In  April,   1855,    I   was  there  and 


preached.  The  meeting  was  held  in  a  school- 
house,  back  in  the  woods.  I  think  this 
building  has  since  been  used  as  the  African 
Methodist  Episcopal  Church.  I  think  dur- 
ing the  summer  of  1855,  O.  Kellogg,  then  in 
ttie  Jonesboro  work,  visited  the  place  one  or 
more 'times,  and  I  corresponded  with  Bishop 
Ames,  proposing  to  connect  it  with  Jones- 
boro.  I  thought  the  arrangement  doubtful, 
as  a  circuit  lay  between.  Bishop  Ames  con- 
sented to  the  work,  but  it  was  not  effected." 
When  the  good  old  Elder  comes  to  the  effort 
to  recall  the  early  Methodist  families,  he 
quaintly  says:  "  I  cannot  call  up  any  of  the 
names  of  the  first  members.  There  was  the 
wife  of  a  hotel  keeper — a  Pole  or  Spaniard 
or  some  kind  of  a  foi'eigner — with  an  unpro- 
nounceable name.  [This  must  have  been 
old  Rattlemueller. — Ed.]  They  called  him 
for  convenience,  Martin.  [This  was  where 
Mark  Twain  got  his  idea  when  in  Eui-ope  of 
calling  each  one  of  his  guides  Furgeson. — 
En.]  The  two  or  three  families  in  Cairo 
were  anxious  for  regular  preaching  and  I  as 
anxious  to  supply  them.  *  *  *  On  one 
of  my  visits,  I  stopped  on  a  boat  (hotel). 
The  landlord  was  not  a  Methodist,  but  very 
clever  to  us.  He  told  me  of  one  G.  who  had 
been  a  Baptist,  a  Methodist  and  a  Presbyte- 
rian, and  who  at  one  time  proposed  to  be  a 
preacher.  He  boarded  a  long  time  at  this 
hotel,  and  the  last  the  landlord  saw  of  him, 
he  was  wending  his  way  up  the  levee,  carrying 
his  bundle  and  said  he  was  hunting  a  cheaper 
hotel.  The  jolly  landlord  laughed  when  he 
said  he  did  not  know  where  he  could  find 
such,  as  he  never  paid  him  a  cent." 

In  a  letter  from  Rev.  R.  H.  Manier,  we 
are  permitted  to  extract  the  following  his- 
orical  facts:  "I  was  stationed  in  Cairo  in 
1856.  Brother  G.  \V.  Hughey  was  my  pred- 
ecessor. When  I  took  charge,  the  church 
was  inclosed  and  the  roof  on.     The  trustees 


184 


HISTORY   OF  CAIRO. 


were  in  debt,  and  the  workmen  wanting 
money.  I  spent  the  iirst  Sabbath  after  con- 
ference in  Cairo,  and  on  Monday  following 
struck  out  to  raise  money.  From  that  time 
until  the  church  was  finished  I  was  on  the 
wing.  It  required  $1,200  to  pay  what  was 
due  and  finish  the  church,  I  had  succeeded 
in  raising  about  $800,  when  the  church  was 
completed  and  left  only  S400  in  debt,  which 
we  hoped  to  raise  on  the  day  of  dedication, 
which  was  early  in  February,  but  postponed 
on  account  of  small-pox  breaking  out  in  a 
boarding  house  on  a  corner  opposite  the 
church,  until  the  latter  part  of  March.  Dr. 
Akers  preached  the  dedication  sermon — I 
cannot  recall  the  text.  *  *  *  AVe  had 
bad  luck  on  the  day  of  dedication.  When 
Dr.  A.kers  had  only  fairly  commenced  his 
sermon,  a  strong  March  wind  started  dowD 
the  flue,  and  the  coal  smoke  poured  out  in 
the  room  and  drove  the  people  out,  most  of 
whom  went  home,  and  the  Doctor  finished  his 
discourse  to  empty  benches.  The  collection 
was  an  utter  failure.  I  started  out  again 
and  did  not  return  until  I  had  the  money  to 
pay  off  the  debt.  *  *  *  The  member- 
ship when  I  went  there  consisted,  as  I  now 
remember,  of  S.  S.  Brooks  and  family,  W. 
P.  Trunnion  and  wife,  Miss  Emma  Robert- 
son, Sister  Martin,  Dr.  J.  G.  D.  Pettijohn, 
Sister  Finch  and  James  Degear. " 

The  pastors  in  charge  and  in  the  order  of 
their  ministering  to  the  congregation  in  Cairo 
were  as  follows:  First  regular  pastor,  G.  W. 
Hughey,  October  1,  1855;  R.  H.  Manier, 
1856;  J.  A.  Scan-itt,  1857;  Carlyle  Babbitt, 
1858;  G.  \V.  Jenks,  1859;  L.  Hawkins,  1860; 
J.  W.  Lowe,  1861;  (one  year  unknown);  G. 
W.  Hughey,  1863,  and  re- appointed;  H. 
Sears,  1865;  A.  M.  Brybon,  1866;  John 
VanCleve,  1867;  C.  Lothrop,  1868;  F.  M. 
Van  Trees,  1869-70;  F.  L.  Thompson,  1871 
-72;  J.  L.  Waller,  1874^75;  J.  D.  Gilham, 


1876;  A.  P.  Morrison,  1877;  W.  F.  Whit- 
taker,  1878-79  and  1880;  J.  A.  Scarritt, 
1882,  and  is  the  present  incumbent. 

]VIr.  Scarritt  is  a  native  of  Madison  County, 
111.,  boi-n  Juno  23,  1827.  His  parents,  Na- 
than and  Letty  (Aulds)  Scarritt,  both  of  New 
England,  came  to  Illinois  in  1820,  and  re- 
sided in  Madison  County.  There  were  ten 
children  in  the  family,  Mr.  J.  A.  being  the 
tenth  child.  He  entered  the  ministry  in 
1851,  and  since  that  time  has  belonged  to  the 
conference  he  joined.  He  married  Harriet 
Meldrum;  the  issue  of  this  marriage  was 
three  children,  only  one  now  living — Mrs. 
George  Parsons,  of  Cairo. 

The  Baptisi  Church  was  organized  October 
26,  1880.  Though  this  church  has  not  yet 
completed  the  third  year  of  its  existence,  the 
causes  that  led  to  and  are  connected  with  its 
institution  date  back  several  years.  Thei'e 
being  no  records  that  are  accessible,  we  can- 
not speak  particvilarly  of  the  work  previous 
to  March,  1877.  At  the  time  named  above, 
the  remnant  of  Baptists  in  the  city  was  re- 
enforced  by  a  few  others  who  came  to  make 
this  their  home,  and  after  a  number  of  con- 
sultations to  devise  ways  and  means  for  the 
establishment  of  some  organization  that 
would  be  the  means,  of  disseminating  Baptist 
principles,  it  was  finally  determined  that  a 
Sunday  school  be  organized  as  a  nucleus 
or  rallying  point  fi'om  which  to  direct  other 
efforts  when  the  time  should  be  ripe  for  them. 
February  10,  1878.  the  first  session  of  the 
Sunday  school  was  held.  Twenty  persons 
were  present — including  all  ages.  Mr. 
George  W.  Strode  was  elected  Superintendent, 
which  office  he  has  filled  to  the  satisfaction  of 
the  school  since  that  time.  Mrs.  Joseph  W. 
Stewart  (since  deceased)  was  chosen  Sec- 
retary and  Treasurer.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  George 
W.  Strode,  Mr.  C.  B.  S.  Pennebaker. 
Mr.    James  W.   Stewart,   Mrs.  O.  N.   Brain- 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


185 


ard  and  Miss  A.  Rogers  were  appointed 
teachers.  Papers,  necessary  Sabbath  school 
helps,  and  an  organ  were  speedily  pro- 
cured, and  the  growth  of  the  school, 
though  slow  at  first,  was  steady  and  con- 
stant, both  in  numbers  and  interest;  dur- 
ing its  second  year,  it  received  an  important 
accession  to  its  working  force  in  the  persons 
of  Mrs.  and  Miss  W.  C.  Augur,  of  Hartford, 
Conn.,  whose  active  labors  are  still  enlisted 
in  the  interest  of  the  church  and  school. 
While  the  Sunday  school  prospered,  hav- 
ing reached  during  its  third  year  an  atten- 
dance of  seventy- five  to  one  hundred,  the 
question  of  organizing  a  Baptist  Church  was 
often  and  anxiously  considered,  and  October 
26,  1880,  this  long  desired  object  was  accom- 
plished. After  a  sermon  by  Rev.  W.  F. 
Kone,  pastor  at  the  First  Baptist  Church  at 
Huntsville,  Ala.,  a  council  consisting  of  Revs. 
W.  F.  Kone,  of  Huntsville,  Ala.,  G.  L.  Tal- 
bert  and  A.  J.  Hess,  of  Columbus,  Ky.,  was 
convened,  and  the  church  duly  recognized 
according  to  the  custom  in  such  cases.  The 
charter  members  comprised  the  following 
persons:  George  W.  Strode  and  wife,  Mrs. 
Marj'  P.  Strode,  C.  B.  S.  Pennebaker,  Isaac 
N.  Smith  and  wife,  IVIi-s.  Louisa  E.  Smith, 
A.  J.  Alden  and  wife,  Mrs.  B.  E.  Alden,  H. 
Leighton,  Mrs.  Sarah  E.  Parks,  Mrs.  M.  J. 
Dewey,  Mrs.  Whittaker,  Mrs.  William  Mor- 
ton, W.  C.  Augur  and  wife,  Mrs.  Julia  C. 
Augur,  Mrs.  N.  E.  Coster  and  Mrs.  Sarah 
S.  Stickney — sixteen  in  all.  The  new  or- 
ganization assumed  the  name,  Cairo  Baptist 
Church.  George  W.  Strode,  who  had  been  or- 
dained Deacon  of  the  Columbus,  Ky.,  church, 
was  recognized  to  the  same  office  in  the  new 
chiu'ch.  C.  B.  S.  Pennebaker  was  chosen 
Clerk,  which  office  he  still  holds.  A  call  was 
extended  to  Rev.  A.  J.  Hess,  which  he  ac- 
cepted, generously  proposing  to  visit  Cairo 
once  each  month  and  minister  to  the  chui-ch 


without  definite  promise  of  compensation  un- 
til ai-rangements  cuuld  be  made  to  secure 
that  object.  The  upper  room  of  "  Temper- 
ance Hall "  was  rented  as  the  regular  place 
of  meeting  for  the  church  and  Sunday  school. 

In  November  following  the  organization, 
Rev.  W.  F.  Kone,  who  had  been  granted 
leave  of  absence  by  his  church  for  that  pur- 
pose, returned  to  Cairo  and  with  the  assist- 
ance of  Revs.  A.  J.  Hess,  pastor,  and  G.  L. 
Talbert,  of  Columbus.  Ky.,  held  a  series  of 
meetings  with  the  church,  which  resulted  in 
eight  additions  by  letter  and  fourteen  by 
baptism,  a  success  that  gave  the  new  church 
a  very  encouraging  start  on  its  mission. 
About  this  time,  the  Baptist  General  Asso- 
ciation of  the  State  came  to  the  assistance  of 
the  church  to  the  extent  of  secui'ing  the  serv- 
ices of  its  pastor  for  one  Sabbath  each 
month,  and  a  few  months  later  the  "  Clear 
Creek  Association "  of  Southern  Illinois 
promised  additional  aid,  which  enabled  the 
church  to  obtain  the  services  of  Rev.  Mr. 
Hess  for  two  Sabbaths  each  month,  an  ar- 
rangement which  continued  until  January, 
1883. 

The  greatest  need  was  a  house,  and  many 
plans  were  conceived  and  discussed,  Jooking^ 
to  the  accomplishment  of  that  object.  Pend- 
ing these  discussions,  the  chiu'ch  was  visited 
by  Rev.  1.  N.  Hobart,  Superintendent  of 
Missions  for  the  Baptist  General  Association 
of  Illinois,  whose  kindly  interest  was  then,, 
and  has  since  been,  successfully  exerted*  in 
behalf  of  the  work  in  Cairo.  Through  his 
recommendation,  the  church  was  afterward 
enabled  to  secure  financial  assistance,  in  the 
way  of  a  loan — referred  to  in  another  part 
of  this  sketch — which  aided  it  to  place  its 
property  in  very  secure  shape.  Dr.  Hobart's 
successor.  Rev.  E.  S.  Graham,  present  Sup- 
erintendent of  Missions,  has  also  manifested 
much    interest  in   the   Cairo   work,  and  has. 


186 


HISTORY   OF   CAIRO. 


done  much  to  enlist  the  sympathy  and  assist- 
ance of  the  local  and  general  associations  in 
its  favor. 

Failing  to  secure  desirable  lots  on  which 
to  erect  a  building,  the  church,  through  its 
Trustees,  George  ^\.  Strode,  Isaac  N.  Smith 
and  C.  B.  S.  Pennebaker,  accepted  the  propo- 
sition of  the  Turner  Society  to  sell  their 
property,  three  lots,  and  a  neat,  well-built 
hall,  comparatively  new,  30x65  feet,  with 
audience  room  30x50  feet,  and  smaller  rooms 
at  end  facing  Poplar  street.  The  price 
agreed  upon  was  $2, 500.  At  the  time  of  the 
purchase,  the  church  had  less  than  $100  in 
its  treasury,  but  with  the  contributions  of  its 
members,  and  the  generous  assistance  of 
freinds,  in  the  city  and  abroad,  about  $1,700 
was  raised,  which,  with  a  loan  from  "  The 
American  Baptist  Home  Mission  Society," 
enabled  the  Trustees  to  pay  for  the  property 
before  the  expiration  of  the  thirty  days  al- 
lowed them  by  the  Tm-ners.  During  the  first 
year,  including  the  purchase  of  property  and 
necessary  changes  and '  repairs,  more  than 
$3,000  were  expended,  leaving  an  indebted- 
ness of  $1,300,  about  $300  of  which  has 
since  been  paid  off,  so  that  the  present  in- 
debtedness is  about  $1,000. 

The  church  was  re -painted,  outside  and 
inside,  new  pews,  pulpit,  baptistry,  di-essing- 
rooms,  etc.,  provided,  and  other  improvements 
and  furniture  added,  until  their  church 
home,  though  still  wanting  in  some  respects, 
is  one  of  which  the  members  feel  justly 
proud,  when  they  remember  that  so  recently 
they  were  homeless.  In  September,  1881, 
Rev.  W.  F.  Kone  again  visited  Cairo,  and 
assisted  Rev.  A.  J.  Hess,  pastor,  in  a  series  of 
meetings,  resulting  in  four  additions  by 
letter,  and  seventeen  by  baptism — thus  in- 
creasing the  membership  to  sixty-seven, 
a  gain  of  forty-one  during  the  year.  In  the 
following  spring,  the  anxiety  and  apprehen- 


sion on  account  of  the  threatened  overflow  of 
the  city,  and  the  annoyance  from  the  unusual 
accumulation  of  "sipe"  water,  had  a  depress- 
ing effect  on  the  chvirch  and  Sabbath  school 
work,  as  well  as  of  the  material  interests  of 
many  of  those  interested  in  it,  several  of 
whom  removed  from  the  city,  so  that  until 
recently  the  membership  of  the  church  had 
not  increased  in  the  aggregate,  the  acces- 
sions and  losses  being  about  equal.  At  the 
close  of  the  second  year,  tbe  church  invited 
Rev.  A.  J.  Hess,  who  had  faithfully  preached 
for  it  twice  each  month  since  the  organiza- 
tion, to  become  its  pastor  for  the  whole  of 
his  time,  but  as  the  aid  promised  by  the  as- 
sociation was  not  sufficient  to  assui'e  an 
adequate  salary  from  the  church,  while  the 
church  at  Charleston,  Mo.,  the  home  of  Mr. 
Hess,  was  prepared  to  offer  him  full  support, 
he  was  compelled  to  decline  the  jnvitation 
from  Cairo.  This  left  the  Cairo  chm-ch 
without  a  pastor  from  January  to  May,  1883, 
during  which  time  it  suffered  the  usual  de- 
cline in  interest  under  such  circumstances, 
though  all  its  social  and  business  meetings 
and  the  Sunday  school  were  promptly  at- 
tended to  by  the  members.  During  April, 
1883,  Rev.  A.  W.  McGaha,  of  the  "  Southern 
Baptist  Theological  Seminary,"  Louisville, 
Ky. ,  was  invited  to  take  charge  of  the  church 
as  pastor,  and  accepted  with  the  understand- 
ing that  his  labors  should  terminate  with 
the  commencement  of  the  next  session  of  the 
Southern  Baptist  Theological  Seminary,  in 
the  event  that  he  should  decide  to  return  to 
that  institution.  Mr.  McGaha  commenced 
his  labors  with  the  church  here  the  tii'st  Sab- 
bath in  May,  and  in  the  short  time  that  he 
has  been  in  Caii'o  bas  exhibited  a  degree  of 
earnestness  and  zeal  that  has  gained  the  con- 
fidence and  esteem  of  all  with  whom  he  comes 
in  contact.  Since  the  16th  of  May,  he  has 
been  engaged  in  a   series  of   meetings    with 


M^' 


lyry 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


189 


the  church,  in  which  he  has  had  the  assist- 
ance of  the  Pui'ser  brothers,  Rev.  D.  J.  and 
John  F.,  evangelists,  of  Mississippi,  the 
success  of  whose  labors  in  many  other  cities 
gave  promise  of  a  good  work  in  Cairo,  which 
has  been  realized.  The  meetings  were  held 
at  the  church  every  afternoon  and  evening, 
from  the  above  date  until  Sunday  evening, 
June  9,  1883 — nearly  four  weeks — resulting 
in  thirty-six  additions  to  the  church;  live  by 
letter,  twenty-seven  by  baptism,  three  under 
watch -care  and  one  awaiting  baptism,  mak- 
ing the  total  membership  at  this  time  ninety- 
nine,  and  three  under  watch-care.  The  Sun- 
day school  has  a  present  average  attendance 
of  about  one  hiindred  and  twenty,  under  the 
following  officers  and  teachers: 

George  W.  Strode,  Superintendent;  C.  B. 
S.  Pennebaker,  Assistant  Superintendent; 
Arthur  Lemen,  Secretary;  AY.  C.  Augur, 
Treasvu-er. 

Teachers — George  A^^  Strode,  Mrs.  Mary 
P.  Strode,  Mrs.  W.  C.  Augui-,  C.  B.  S.  Pen- 
nebaker, Mrs.  Carrie  S.  Hudson  (infant 
class),  Mrs.  M.  A.  Walker,  Mrs.  Robert 
Baird,  Mrs.  Thomas  Wilson,  and  the  pastor's 
Glass  for  study  of  characters  in  the  Old 
Testament,  just  organized. 

All  the  expenses  of  the  church,  including 
pastor's  salary,  are  paid  from  a  common  fund, 
raised  by  subscription  and  voluntary  con- 
tributions of  the  members. 

Though  the  membership  of  the  church  is, 
perhaps,  weaker,  financially,  than  any  of  the 
other  leading  societies  in  the  city,  the  special 
efforts  it  has  put  forth  to  build  up  and  per- 
manently establish  and  secure  the  cause  of 
the  denomination  in  Cairo,  have  brought  it 
prominently  before  the  public,  and  done 
much  to  acquaint  the  people  with  Baptist 
faith  and  practices. 

Considering  its  growth  in  the  past  few 
years,  its  present  condition  and  future  pros- 


pects, it  would  seem  that  the  Baptists  have 
at  last  succeeded  in  establishing  their  cause 
in  Cairo,  with  a  reasonable  assurance  of  per- 
manence and  prosperity. 

The  Schools. — In  a  preceding  chapter,  we 
have  told  of  the  incipient  efforts  in  Cairo, 
commencing  with  Glass'  first  pay-school, 
and  briefly  traced  them  along  in  their  suc- 
cession to  the  time  that  the  State  had  pro- 
vided for  free  public  schools,  which  auspi- 
cious event  occurred  in  Cairo  in  the  year 
1854. 

The  throwing  open  the  schoolroom  doors, 
free  to  all  the  world  of  school  age,  should 
mark  an  era  and  prove  an  auspicious  hour  for 
mankind.  The  admonition,  "  put  money  in 
thy  purse,"  has  out-traveled  the  electricity, 
and  long  enough  been  the  controlling,  cen- 
tral idea  of  all  races  of  men;  and  the  public 
free  school  was  the  idea,  at  least,  of  that  on- 
ward step  to  put  knowledge  in  the  head. 
The  world's  gains  in  wealth,  and  comforts, 
and  leisure,  are  necessary  first  steps  to  real 
education,  because  this  alone  is  that  wonder- 
ful law  or  force  that  separates  the  toiler  from 
the  thinker,  a  line  of  distinction  among  most 
men  not  pleasant  to  contemplate,  yet  it  is 
one  of  the  inscrutable  laws  of  God.  Good 
men  dream  of  ^that  better  time  coming,  of 
that  equality  among  all,  and  the  obliterating 
of  all  lines  that  may  possibly  distinguish  all 
idea  of  classes.  The  foolish  believe  this  not 
only  possible,  but  that  it  is  the  "open 
sesame"  to  complete  happiness.  Mental  and 
social  equality  are  not  desirable  things,  even 
were  they  possible  of  attainment.  Look 
about  you,  and  see  if  it  is  the  order  of  nature 
to  make  things  alike.  You  will  see  that  the 
prefection  of  the  whole  is  the  universal 
variety,  the  endless  dissimilarity,  the  infinite 
differences,  the  impossibility,  in  short,  of 
any  two  things  in  all  nature    being    exactly 

similar,    that   constitutes    the    oneness    and 

1 1 


lyO 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


grandeur  of  the  infiuite  universe.  But  men 
dream  of  equality,  of  a  brotherhood  of  maa- 
kind,  when  they  idealize  only  a  similarity, 
and  this  is  the  perfection  for  which  they 
yearn. 

The  childi-en  are  the  child's  school  teacher; 
the   young  people   educate  each  other,   and 
they  all  have  social  joys  in  the  communion  of 
thoughts  ripened  by  observation  and  experi- 
ments.     This  is  the  order  of  nature,  and  it 
never  has,  nor  never  will  be,  changed.     For 
over  seventeen    hundred   years,  the   pietistic 
schools  have  been  earnestly  engaged  in  edu- 
cating the   ever-rising   generations— sowing 
the  seeds  of  knowledge  in  the  young  minds 
that  were  to  blossom  and  bear   fruit  for  that 
fabled  Golden  Age  that  has  never  come— a 
rtopia  of  which  we  may  di-eam  sweet  day- 
dreams, but  never  taste.     A  boy  goes  to  col- 
lege, or  the  academy,  and  through  the  cur- 
riculum,   graduates  with  high  honors,   and 
sometimes  spend  the  remainder  of  their  lives 
rendering   praise    to  their  Alma  Mater,  and 
die  in  the  sincere  faith  that  it  was  the  vener- 
able President  and  Professors  who  educated 
them.  This  innocent  mistake  comes  from  the 
oversight     that    it  was    his    Professor    that 
trained  him  only,  while  it  was  his  associates 
nearly   always,  good   books,    outside    of  his 
school,  text  books,  sometimes,  that  had  done 
the  real  work  of  education.     In  other  words, 
the  old  train  the  young,  while  the  real  edu- 
cation of  the  young  is  in  the  social  life,  the 
intimate    and    friendly    associations    of    the 
young  with  their  equals  in  age— the  contact 
of   minds   with  minds,  where   a  nearly  com- 
plete conhdence  and  congeniality  exists.  The 
venerable  grandsires,  in  their  great  interest 
and     eager     love,    deliver     their     maturest 
thoughts  in    epigrams,  and  "wise   saws"  to 
the  loved  human  kittens,  who  are,  apparently, 
all  respectful  attention,  but  who  are  eager  for 
tbat  romp  and  play  with  their  playmates,  and 


this  again  teaches  old  age  a  lesson  it  will  not 
learn,  that  it  is  in  the  merry  shout  and  rip- 
pling laughter  of  merry  childhood  that 
brings  that  happy  Commission  of  budding 
souls  of  which  comes  healthy  minds  and  edu- 
cated intellects. 

Among  the  oldest  schools  in  history  was 
that  of  Epicurus,  in  Athens,  and  that  of  the 
sweet  and  lovely  girl  of  Alexandria,  Hvpatia. 
The  school  of  Epicurus  was  a  social  club, 
that  wandered,  and  lounged,  and  conversed 
in  the  winding  walks  and  grateful  shades  of 
the  gardens:  and  the  gifted  and  beautiful 
girl.  Hypatia.  from  the  porches  of  Alexan- 
dria discussed  those  great  and  unanswered 
questions,  "Who  am  I?  Where  am  I? 
Whither  am  I  going?" 

This  remarkable  girl  was  torn  in  pieces  by 
a  fanatic  mob,  for  discussing  these  great 
and,  so  far,  insoluble  questions;  it  is  to  be 
hoped  that  in  this  nineteeath  century  blaze 
of  liberty  of  discussion,  we  may  not  be  sim- 
ilarly served  for  asking  similar  questions,  but 
concerning  the  less  vital  interests  of  the 
soul,  but  the  yet  greatest  of  all  temporal 
ones,  that  of  education:  Where  is  it?  What 
is  it?     Where  can  it  be  obtained? 

To  answer  the  first  of  the  above  questions 
intellio-ently,  it  is  essential  first  to  fully  un- 
derstand the  second  one — Education,  What 
is  it?  All  talk  about  it,  and  it  runs  glibly 
over  the  tongue  of  the  youngest  and  oldest, 
the  learned  and  the  unlearned,  and  nine- 
tenths  of  all  civilized  peoples  would  stare  at 
you,  were  you  in  seriousness  to  ask  them  the 
question.  The  dictionaries  all  define  the 
word,  and  everybody  fully  understands  it, 
yet,  What  is  education  ?  The  wi'iter  remem- 
bers hearing  the  simple  question  asked  of  a 
Teachers'  Institute,  and  most  painfully  does 
he  recollect  that  they  did  not  and  could  not 
tell,  although  there  were  professors  there 
who  were   supposed   to   be    eminent  in   the 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


191 


rjinks    of    educators.        Educators,    and    not 
know  what  education  is!  it's  something  of  a 
travesty.      Had  this  institute  been  composed 
of  very  ignorant  men,  not  only  ignorant  but 
unculturetl,    each     member   could    have    an- 
swered the  question  in  a  moment,  and  showed 
supreme    contempt    for    the    poor    fool    that 
would  ask  such  a   question.      For  more  than 
seventeen  hundred  years,  the  present  systems 
cr    ideas  have  prevailed   in  the  school  room. 
We  do    not  mean    that  the    same   things  are 
taught  now  that  were  in  the  olden  time,  but 
that  the  present  system,  the  cardinal  ideas 
all    through   it,    are    based   upon   the   first 
schools  founded  in  Egypt  so  many  centuries 
ago,  and  that  at  their  foundation  were  one  of 
the   greatest    advances  of   civilization.     The 
first  schools  were  solely  for  the  purpose  of 
memorizing  the  'precepts  and  philosophies  of 
the  fathers,  in   whose    sayings  were  all  wis- 
dom  and  all    good;  in   short,  it  was   then  a 
process  of   committing  to  memory    and  it  is 
exactly   this  now.     The  manner   and  forms 
have  all  undergone  wonderful   changes,  but 
the  substance,  as  found  in  the  school  room  of 
to-day,  and  those  of    the  long  ages  ago,  are 
identical.     The    earliest  educator's  supposed 
that   training  the    mind  was   education,  and 
that,  therefore,  a  training-room  was  a  school; 
whereas  it  is  a  fact  you  may   commit,  were 
this  a  possibility,  every  book,  manuscript  and 
tradition  in  the   world  to    memory,  and  still 
you  may  not  be  at  all  educated.      Could  you 
retain  them  all   after  they  were   memorized, 
you    would  have  a    wonderful   storehouse — 
mostly  trash  and  rubbish — yet  what  an  inex- 
haustible supply  of   facts,  and   many   of   the 
greatest  thoughts  fi-om  the  busiest  and  best 
brains.     Could   you  separate  the  wheat  from 
the  chaff  in  this  storehouse,  and  make  a  prac- 
tical, everyday  use  of    it  all,  you    might  be 
the  best  informed  man  in  the  world,  and  still 
not  educated.     But  few  men,  owing  to  the 


general  vagueness  of  their  ideas,  can  draw 
any  distinction  between  training  and  educa- 
tion, and  hence  it  is  that  so  few  in  the  world 
ever  give  a  thought  to  the  subject  of  what 
real  education  is.  This  is  an  inexhaustible 
theme,  and  we  do  not  purpose  to  do  more 
than  to  look  briofiy  xipon  its  most  outward 
boundaries,  in  the  hope  that  a  hint  may  be 
dropped  that  will  attract  the  attention  of 
some  mind  that  will  push  the  investigation 
to  its  final  issue. 

What  is  education  ?  It  is  getting  knowledge. 
And  what  is  knowledge?  It  is  the  under- 
standing of  the  mental  and  physical  laws. 
To  yet  bi'oaden,  and  simplify  the  definition 
— to  understand  the  natural  laws.  We 
mean  the  laws  that  govern  mind  and  matter. 

These  terms  and  definitions  must  not  be 
confounded  in  the  mind  of  the  reader,  or  our 
words  will  be  worse  than  in  vain.  To  most 
people  it  looks  like  a'very  simple,  if  not  con- 
tfimptible,  proposition  to  talk  about  under- 
standing the  natural  laws — laws  that  govern 
mind  and  matter.  Yet  this  once  accom- 
plished, and  you  are  possessed  of  the  knowl- 
edge of  Omniscience,  the  wisdom  of  the  true 
God.  Knowledge,  therefore,  is  not  the 
ability  to  read  Latin,  Greek  and  Hebrew,  or 
to  solve  all  the  problems  in  mathematics,  or 
to  talk  glibly,  and  give  in  detail  other  men's 
thoughts.  In  fact,  the  fundamental  idea  of 
the  college  and  university  is  such,  that  the 
most  learned  man  may  be  truly  the  most  ig- 
norant. W^o  do  not  say  that  of  necessity  it 
is  so,  but  that  such  a  case  is  possible. 
Learning  and  knowledge — when  learning 
means  memorizing — have  so  little  in  com- 
mon, that  it  is  simj)ly  amazing  that,  for  such 
a  long  reach  of  time,  they  could  have  been 
confounded  as  being  synonymous  terms.  To 
think  intelligently  npnu  this  subject,  the  dis- 
tinctions between  a  training-school  and  a 
school  for  educational    purposes,  it   must  be 


192 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


borne  in  mind,  are  vastly  different  things. 
And  that  parent  only  is  competent  to  super- 
intend the  education  of  the  child,  who  clear- 
ly comprehends  what  education  is. 

But  we  are  told,  from   age  to  age,  that  the 
school  is  not  created  for  the  purpose  of  im- 
parting knowledge  to   the  child,  but   to  de- 
velop and   strengthen   the  mind  and  show  it 
how  to  grow  strong;  to  put  the  instruments 
within  its  reach,  and  in  after  life  it  may  use 
them   at  will;  to    be    a  mental  gymnasium, 
and  to    criss-cross    the    mental    limbs,  so   to 
speak,  with  great  rolls  of  muscles  of  strength, 
as  are  the  athlete's  arms  and  limbs  developed 
in  the   physical    gymnasium.     Well,    let   us 
glance  at  this  a  moment.     Does   your  child 
need  be  shown  how  to  grow  into   physical 
strength     and     beauty?       Were   not    those 
fathers  fools    who    supposed  they  could  put 
their     children    in    strait-jackets,    to    form 
them  on  a   plan    better  than  the    strong  im- 
pulses of  their  nature  ?     If    exercise    in  the 
way  of  tasks — and  we  know  of  no  system  of 
labor  in  the  world  where  tasks  universal  pre- 
vails ^s  in  the  school  room — if  this  is  the  way 
to  develop  the  physical,  why  should  a  child 
ever   be  allowed  to  play,  but   make  it  work. 
The  most  ignorant  "parents  well  understand 
that  the  very  young  child  put  to  work  is  de- 
formed in  its  gi-owth,  and  often  killed.     And 
yet  the  healthy  young  child  is  a  perfect  cub- 
bear.     It  looks  incredible  how  long  their  lit- 
tle bodies  can   endure    the   apparently  most 
fatiguing   plays.      Let   the    grown    man    at- 
tempt, for  a  few  hours,  to  follow  a  romping 
boy,  and  make  as  many  steps,  and  subject  his 
body  to  all  the  trials  of  strength  and  strains 
the  boy  does,  and   he  would  fall  by  the  way 
exhausted.     Yet   reverse  it,  and  let  the  boy 
attempt  the   steady,    tiresome    labor  of   the 
man,  and  how  soon  would  he  fall  and  expire. 
Watch  a  half-dozen  children,  from  the  wee 
toddler  to  the  nearly  grown,  romping,  scream- 


ing, shouting  their  unaccountable  delight  in 
their  furious  plays,  and  then  reflect   for  but 
a  moment,  and  you  will  realize  that  they  are 
only    growing,   developing   in    the   natural, 
only  way  they  can  be  developed  into  strong, 
brave  men   and  queenly,  beautiful   women. 
Do  you  imagine  you  could  build  a  room,  and 
hire  a  teacher,  and  crowd  them  in  there  and 
teach    them  how  to    develop    their   physical 
systems?     True,   you  know  but  little  about 
their  physical  systems,  and  may  well  excuse 
yourself  on  that   ground  but  then  you  know 
absolutely  nothing  about  their  mental  sys- 
tem.    And  yet  you  proceed  about  the  rigid 
control,   and    mastery    and    direction  of    the 
mind,  as    though  you   possessed   more  than 
Omniscient  wisdom  on  this  one   point.      To 
look  upon  the  young  babe    in  its    mother's 
arms,  is  to    love    at   once  the   blesse4    little 
bundle  of  squirming,  idiotic   innocence   and 
angelic  purity,  for  "  of  such  is  the  [kingdom 
of  heaven,"  and  yet  it  is   to  shudder  for  the 
possibilities  of  broken   parental   hearts,  and 
the   unspeakable   woe   that  may   yet  come  of 
that  innocence  and  purity,  through  mistaken 
ignorance  in  its  training  and  education.     We 
are  not  extravagant,  then,  when  we  say  that 
the    training    and  education  of    the  coming 
generations    is  the   one   great,    transcendent 
subject  of  life.     To  be   mistaken  here  is  to 
risk  more  than    your   own  life,  and  the   life 
and  happiness  of  all  you   hold   dear  on  this 
earth. 

The  proposition  is  to  us  self-evident  that 
the  infant  mind  can  no  more  be  developed 
into  health  and  strength  by  work  than  can 
the  body.  Either  mental  or  physical  work, 
to  the  young  and  tender,  is  the  highway  to 
imbecility  and  deformity.  Let  the  child 
play — watching  over  and  so  directing  it, 
without  its  knowl  edge  of  your  doing  so,  as 
to  protect  and  keep  it  from  absolutely  injur- 
ing itself   by  thoughtless    exposures  and  in- 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


193 


discreet  taxings,  and  yon  may  laugh  at  the 
doctor  and  his  nostrum'?  and  his  bills  to  save 
the  lives  of  yoiu*  childi'en.  And  if  you  have 
ever  spent  a  day  with  a  child,  you  will  know 
that  it  wants  to  take  its  exercise  in  the  open 
air,  not  in  the  well-warmed  schoolroom  or 
nursery.  Every  instinct  and  impulse  of  the 
child  as  naturally  leads  it  to  its  mental  as  to 
its  bodily  development.  But  one  is  as  much 
a  play  with  it  as  the  other.  Its  young  mind 
is  as  active  as  its  precious  little  body.  It 
will  ask  questions  until  the  father  or  mother 
will  impatiently  beg  it  to  stop  or  it  will  kill 
them.  Is  not  this  the  identical  result,  when 
a  grown  person  commences  to  play  with  a 
child?  The  adult  will  tire  in  a  few  moments, 
and  beg  to  be  let  alone,  when  the  child  feels 
it  has  hardly  commenced.  It  is  ordered  by 
authority,  to  "  be  still."  Watch  the  cloud 
pass  over  its  bright  face  as  it  breathes  softly 
and  tries  to  obey,  when  it  can  no  more  con- 
trol its  impulsive  yielding  to  that  higher  law 
than  it  can  stop  breathing,  and  then  it  turns 
to  its  real  schoolmaster,  its  equal  and  play- 
mate, and,  stealing  away  from  the  angry  face, 
they  resume  the  work  of  physical  and  mental 
growth. 

We  hold  this  to  be  true,  and  we  speak  from 
experience,  that  you  may  commence  teaching 
your  child  as  soon  as  it  can  prattle,  always 
as  play  and  never  as  a  task,  and  by  the  time 
it  can  talkj'plain,  you  can  have  it  to  both 
read  and  wi'ite  and  sjiell  correctly  the  name 
of  nearly  every  one  of  its  playthings  and  the 
articles  of  fiirnitm'e  about  the  house.  We  do 
not  attach  any  value  to  this  very  young  play- 
education,  yet,  if  it  is  play  that  it  enjoys 
with  the  keen  zest  of  infancy,  it  will  not 
probably  hurt  it.  This  can  be  done  with 
any  ordinarily  "bright  child,  and  yet  foolish 
fathers  and  mothers  will  tell  you  they  are 
always  too  biisy  to  teach  their  children  any- 
thing at  home.     It    is  not  that  they    are  too 


busy,  but  only  too  ignorant.  They  are,  may- 
hap, both  graduates  of  some  institution  of 
learning,  and  yet  so  ignorant  that  they  will 
undertake  to  rear  a  family,  when  incompe- 
tent, really,  for  the  position  of  caring  for 
blind  puppies. 

We  champion  the  cause  of  outraged  inno- 
cence and  blessed  childhood.  We  would  war 
to  the  death  upon  that  monster,  ignorance, 
whether  "  learned  ignorance  "  or  that  more 
excusable,  inherited  and  common,  if  not  uni- 
versal, kind.  We  would  enact  it  a  capital 
crime  to  task  a  child.  It  is  simply  the  most 
inexcusable  and  infernal  species  of  slavery. 
It  is  soul-polluting,  and  enslaving  and  de- 
grading your  own  flesh  and  blood,  and  where 
such  a  wretched  practice  prevails,  it  is  mar- 
velous that  mankind  does  not  relapse  into 
brutal  barbarism.  We  know  of  but  one 
thing  meaner,  more  degrading  or  infamous, 
and  that  is  whipping  ,yom'  child.  In  the 
schools — we  blush  for  the  age  of  which  this 
must  be  written — they  call  it  "corporal  pun- 
ishment," and  flatter  themselves  that  that 
great  compound  word  can  cover  the  blotch 
and  deep  damnation  of  the  monster  act. 

But  we  stop  abruptly  in  this  line  of 
thought,  appalled  at  the  immensity  of  the 
subject,  as  it  grows  in  the  succession  of  ideas 
as  they  follow  each  other.  Assuming,  as  we 
may,  that  the  most  important  subject  in  this 
life  is  the  education  of  the  young,  we  might 
be  justified  in  disregai'ding  all  else,  and  fol- 
lowing these  merest  hints  to  their  final  and 
inevitable  conclusions,  and  elaborating  them, 
at  least,  in  a  manner  that  might  make  plain 
to  tlie  comprehension  of  all  the  views  of 
the  writer.  To  conviucf  intelligent  thinkers 
that  this  important  institution  deserves  to  be 
ever  examined  and  watched,  and  that  it  is  a 
foolish  people  who  sit  supinely  down  in  the 
faith  that  the  fathers  jiossessed  all  wisdom, 
and  had  so   arranged  ouv   schoolrooms,   that 


194 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


any  further  questioning  of  the  system  is  a 
folly,  if  not  a  crime.  In  heaven's  name, 
No!  We  would  not  wi-ite  the  schools  down, 
but  up.  We  would  correct  the  wrongs,  if 
any,  and  improve  and  perfect  the  good.  And, 
above  all,  if  we  have  not  real  schools  of  true 
education,  we  would  never  stop  until  we  had 
made  them  such,  if  this  were  possible. 

The  first  public  free  school  was  commenced 
in  1854,  in  the  present  Eleventh  Street 
Schoolhouse.  This  was  a  plain,  one- story, 
one- room,  frame  building,  and  one  teacher, 
and  meager  as  were  these  school  facilities 
they  supplied  the  demand  of  that  day,  and 
continued  to  do  so  until  1SG5.  In  3S64:,  the 
three- story  brick  building  on  the  corner  of 
Thirteenth  and  Walnut  streets  was  erected. 
It  has  five  rooms,  two  on  each  floor,  except 
the  third,  which  is  in  one  room.  The  colored 
schoolhouse  (responsive  to  the  negroes'  sen- 
sitiveness on  the  pigment  points)  was  erected. 
This  is  a  two-story  frame,  with  four  rooms, 
and  is  situated  on  the  corner  of  Nineteenth 
and  Walnut  streets.  Then  was  erected  the 
present  elegant  high  school  building,  on  the 
comer  of  Walnut  and  Twenty-first  streets. 
This  is  a  three-story  brick,  and  has  five 
rooms.  The  School  Board  has  rented  a 
schoolroom  for  the  past  two  years.  This  is 
across  the  street  from  the  high  school.  The 
past  school  year,  the  board  has  employed 
seventeen  teachers;  there  were  1,100  pupils; 
the  highest  salary  was  $1,200  a  year,  and  the 
lowest  $30  per  month.  The  number  of  chil- 
dren, of  ages  under  twenty  one,  is,  males, 
2, 036,  females,  2,024;  thenum})er  of  school  age 
is,  males,  1,394,  females,  1,447;  total,  2,841. 
The  assessment  for  school  purposes,  the  present 
and  past  few  years,  has  been  $10,000.  There 
has  for  some  time  been  but  one  male  teacher  in 
the  white  schools — the  Superintendent — and 
one  male  in  the  negro  schools.  For  some 
time,  the  seating  capacity  iu  the  school  rooms 


and  the  supply  of  children  have  been  out  of 
all  i^roportion,  and  the  result  is  that  the 
primary  rooms  were  so  overrun  that  the 
board  was  compelled  to  allow  only  half-days' 
attendance,  and  we  make  no  doubt  but  this 
necessity  will  result  in  the  discovery  that 
half  a  day  is  a  plenty  for  the  little  children  to 
be  mewed  up  in  the  schoolroom. 

The  newspapers  of  the  country,  of  a  few 
months  ago,  were  laden  with  dispatches  from 
Cairo,  giving  the  full  details  of  what  were 
called  the  negro  raids  upon  the  public 
schools.  It  seems  they  were  not  satisfied  ro 
be  alone  in  their  own  schoolrooms,  and  so 
they  counseled  together,  and,  by  concert  of 
action,  met  at  their  'churches  and  school- 
rooms, and  in  bodies  marched  upon  the  white 
schools.  Their  principal  point  of  attack 
seemed  to  be  the  hio^h  school  buildino-.  The 
motly  processions  were  headed  by  the  most 
venerable  old  gray  headed  bucks  and  wenches, 
and  tapered  down  to  the  most  infantile,  un- 
washed, bow-legged  picaninnies;  and  tbey 
all  said,  "  I  rocken  we'uns  wants  to  gradiate 
as  well  as  white  trash."  It  all  resulted  in 
nothing  more  serious  than  a  great  annoyance 
and  interruption  to  the  schools.  Some  of  the 
brave  girls  that  were  teaching  saw  the  savory 
mob  a]:)proaching.  and  barred  the  doors  and 
kept  them  out;  while  in  other  rooms  they 
efiected  a  lodgment,  and  proposed  to  stay. 
The  writer  had  the  curiosity  to  interview  the 
Tax  Collector  of  this  school  district,  and 
was  informed  that  the  whole  tax  paid  by  the 
negroes  was  not  enough  to  pay  for  the  fuel 
used  in  the  negro  schools.  But  these  young 
Solomons  of  Africa  probably  would  have  paid 
small  heed  to  that,  had  it  been  presented  to 
them. 

Loretfo  Academy. — This  is  a,  female  con- 
vent school,  under  the  auspices  of  the  Sis- 
ters of  Loretto.  It  was  founded  in  1863, 
under  the  superintendency  of   Mother  Eliza- 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


195 


beth  Hayden,  a  sister  of  Bishop  Spaulding, 
of  Kentucky.  It  cost  over  18,000,  and  when 
the  frame  was  up,  and  ready  for  inciosure, 
it  was  wrecked  by  a  storm.  It  was  again  put 
up,  and  soon  was  one  of  the  most  floui-ishiag 
female  academies  in  the  country.  Four 
years  ago,  the  entire  building  was  burned  to 
the  ground,  inflicting  a  great  loss,  as  well  as 
an  interriTption  to  the  school.  It  was  soon 
rebuilt,  and  in  the  rebuilding  it  was  enlarged 
and  greatly  improved,  and  has  now  fully  re- 
gained its  lost  ground.  This  institution  of 
learning  has  been  much  prized  by  the  people 
of  Cairo,  and  many  of  the  daughters  of  some 
of  the  best  people  have  been  educated  there. 
Frei  Deufsch  Schnle. — This  has  long  been 
one  of  the  noted  schools  of  Cairo.  To  a  Ger- 
man, the  name    is  quite  enough   explanation 


as  to  what  it  is:  a  free  school,  for  the  pur- 
pose of  teaching  German,  and  without  re- 
ligious bias.  Their  building  is  on  Four- 
teenth, between  "Washington  and  "Walnut 
streets.  They  have  about  seventy-five 
pupils,  and  the  institution  is  maintained 
wholly  by  private  subscription.  This  free 
school  was  opened  in  1863;  its  founders  and 
principal  supporters  were  F.  Bross,  H. 
Meyers,  P.  G.  Schuh,  Ed  Buder,  Charles 
Feuchter,  Peter  Each,  Juhn  Reese,  Peter 
Neft',  Leo  Klepp,  Charles  Meyner,  John 
Scheel  and  Jacob  Banning.  The  house  cost 
$4,500.  and  among  the  largest  contributors 
to  build  it  were  A.  B.  Saflford  and  AVill- 
iam  Schutter.  The  principal  teachers  have 
been  Mr.  Apple,  Wirsching,  Kroeger,  and 
assistant,  Miss  Yocum. 


CHAPTER   X 


RA1LK0AD8— THE   ILLINOIS   CENTRAL— CAIRO   SHORT  LINE— THE  IRON  MOUNTAIN— CAIRu  .-t  ST. 

LOUIS— THE  WABASH— MOBILE  ^^  OHIO— TEXAS  \  ST.  LOUIS— THE  GREAT  JACKSON 

ROUTE— ROADS  BEING  BUILT,   ETC.,  ETC. 


"Mine  eyes,    that  I  might   question  my  con- 
ductor."— Longfellow. 

IN  the  opening  chapter  of  the  history  of 
Cairo,  we  noted  that  the  event  of  trans- 
cendent importance,  not  only  to  Cairo  but 
the  entire  Mississippi  Valley,  was  the  coming 
of  the  first  steamboat — the  first  that  ever 
stirred  the  waters  west  of  the  Alleghany 
Mountains,  being  the  Orleans,  Capt.  Roose- 
velt, which,  passing  down  the  Ohio,  rode 
out  into  the  Mississippi  River  on  the  18th 
day  of  Deceml^er,  1811.  Compared  with  the 
floating  palaces  that  have  since  plowed  these 
rivers,  it  was  but  a  rude  craft — yet  it  was  a 
steamboat — a  true  type  of  an  immortal  hu- 


man conception,  that  was  freighted  and  bal- 
lasted with  the  weal  of  civilization. 

The  railroad  is  but  the  steamer  running  on 
dry  land.  But  far-seeing  minds  looked  at 
the  steamboat  as  it  stemmed  the  current  and 
the  winds  with  its  enormous  loads  of  mer- 
chandise, and  they  thought  that  wheels  could 
be  made  to  take  the  place  of  the  paddles, 
and  thus  the  propelling  engine  would  carry 
the  same  precious  cai'goes  over  valley  and 
plain,  hills  and  mountains  that  it  did  on  the 
water.  The  great  invention  of  Fulton's  had 
cast  its  seed  in  other  men's  minds  and  then 
the  thought  goes  on  forever;  starting  like 
the  little   rivulet  over  the  white  sand   and 


196 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


gravel,  so  insignificant  at    first  that  a  straw 
wonld  turn  or  obstruct  its  course,  yet  passing 
on  and  on,  and  gathering  accessions  and  vol- 
ume here  and  there  until  it  swells  into  the 
great  and  resistless  river,    bearing  upon  its 
heaving  bosom   the  Armada  of  the  world  as 
in  majesty  it  rushes  into  the  great   sea  that 
rolls  around  all  the  world.     Just  so  is  a  great 
thought  matm-ed,  fashioned  and  grown;  it  is 
the  slow  growth  of  ages,  perhaps,    as  it  has 
gathered  accretions  from  millions  of  minds. 
It  comes  not  springing  forth  a  full  gi'own 
Phofinix  fro  n  the  ashes,  but  in  the  nature  of 
things,  the  greater  the  conception  the  slower 
has  been  its  formation;  but  once  the  seed  has 
commenced  to  germinate,  and  the  warm  fruc- 
tifying rays  from  the  mind  of  genius   have 
touched  it  into  life,   nothing  can  prevent  or 
check  its  progress,    and  it  will  mature  and 
bear  fruit  for   the  human  race    and  for  all 
time.     What   a   travesty  upon   men    are  all 
the  Napoleons,    Csesars,  Alexanders,  and  all 
the  warriors,  rulers  and   potentates    of    the 
earth,  when  stood  up  beside  the  serene,  the 
great  Fulton!    They  are  the  toads  and  bats 
and  vampires — sucking   rivers   of  blood,  and 
see  them  picking  the  shreds  of  human  flesh 
from  their  bloody  talons,  wiping  their  beaks 
of  the  fresh  stains  of    quivering  hearts,  and 
behold  them  blink  and  shrink   back    in  the 
presence  of  the  bright  day  and  sunshine  cast 
from  the  peaceful  and  benign  countenances 
of    these    gi'eat  men    who    have    lived    and 
thought  and    starved  and  died  for  the  good 
of  their  fellow -men. 

When  the  thoughts  of  genius  burst  into 
blossom,  they  till  the  world  with  hope  like  the 
spring  time,  and  of  this  ripened  fruit  come 
those  grand  advances  of  civilization  that 
alone  distinguish  us  from  the  beasts  of  bur- 
den and  prey.  A  human  invention  that 
started  away  back  in  the  past  ages,  by  whom 
the   world  will  never  know  generally,    has 


slowly  grown  and  ripened  as  minds  have  ad- 
ded to  it  in  the  years,  until  it  becomes  per- 
fected into  a   living    force,   is  the  supremest 
production  of   the   earth.     It  surpasses  that 
"  perfect  creature,   man,"  as  the  gods  do  the 
groundlings.      These  slow- growing  and  per- 
fected thoughts  come  rarely  and  slowly  into 
this  world,  but  they   are  the  only  true  mark 
and  measure  of  our  civilization.   And    there- 
fore, could  their  history  be  truly  given,  with 
something  of  each  great  mind  that  played  its 
rays  of  light  upon  the  subject,  and  the  work- 
ing impulses  of  that  mind,  they  would  be  the 
most    interesting,     profound    and    edifying 
words    that    were  ever   placed   upon  paper. 
This,     indeed,     would   be    history — history 
containing  philosophy,  science,  civilization — 
all  knowledge,  all  good,    all  enduring  pleas- 
ure possible  to  man.     It  is  present  in  its  im- 
measureable  effects  always,    while  its  causes 
are  in  the  "  deep  bosom  of  the  ocean  buried:" 
and  it  is  the  ignorance  and  unweeded  barbar- 
ism yet  lingering  in  mankind  that  works  this 
injustice  to  its  true  benefactors  and    great 
men,     and    that    has   crowned    witii   laurel 
wreaths   the   butchers    and   the   shams,   and 
that  has  told  the  story  of  the  world's  bloody 
sacrifices  to  mean  ambition  in  immortal  epic, 
and  consigned  to  forgetfulness  the  works  of 
genius    that    are   the   very    sunlight    of  the 
crowning   type  of  civilization. 

There  is  no  one  thing  in  the  history  of  Cairo, 
or  for  that  matter,  the  entire  State  of  Illinois, 
that  exceeds  in  importance  the  building  of 
the  Illinois  Central  Railroad.  The  idea  of 
a  railroad  running  from  this  point  to  the 
north  line  of  the  State  began  to  be  enter- 
tained by  a  few  far-seeing  minds  almost  sim- 
ultaneously with  the  first  settlement  of  the 
place. 

The  Legislature  elected  August,  1836,  was 
supplemented  by  a  State  Internal  Improve- 
ment Convention,    composed  of  many  of  the 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


197 


ablest  men  in  the  State,  which  was  to  meet  at 
the  seat  of  government  simultaneously  with 
the  Legislature.  This  convention  devised  a 
general  system  of  internal  improvement,  the 
leading  characteristics  of  which  were  "  that 
it  should  be  commensurate  with  the  wants  of 
the  people."  This  convention  was  an  irre- 
sponsible body,  determined  to  succeed  in  its 
one  object,  regai'dless  of  consequences. 
Possibilities  were  argued  into  probabilities, 
and  the  latter  into  infallibilities.  The  Leg- 
islatm-e  was  duly  impressed  with  the  public 
sentiment  that  had  been  worked  up. 

A  bill  for  the  construction  of  nine  rail- 
roads, including  $3,500,000  for  the  Central 
Kailroad  from  the  mouth  of  the  Ohio  to  Ga- 
lena, was  the  largest  of  these  entei-prises, 
and  the  importance  of  reaching  the  naviga- 
ble rivers  at  Cairo  is  well  outlined  by  the 
concluding  paragraph  of  the  committee's  re- 
port, which  was  submitted  to  the  Legislature. 
It  says :  "  In  the  present  situation  of  the 
country,  the  products  of  the  interior,  by  rea- 
son of  their  remoteness  from  market,  are 
left  upon  the  hands  of  the  producer  or  sold 
barely  at  the  price  of  the  labor  necessary  to 
raise  and  prepare  them  for  sale.  But  if  the 
contemplated  system  should  be  carried  into 
effect,  these  fertile  and  healthy  districts, 
which  now  languish  for  the  want  of  ready 
markets  for  their  pi'oductions,  would  find  a 
demand  at  home  for  them  during  the  prog- 
ress of  the  works,  and  after  their  completion 
would  have  the  advantages  of  a  cheap  tran- 
sit to  a  choice  of  markets  on  the  various  nav- 
igable streams.  These  would  inevitably 
tend  to  build  towns  and  cities  along  the 
routes  and  at  the  terminal  points  of  the  re- 
spective railroads." 

The  theory  of  the  effect  upon  the  State 
that  would  come  from  the  building  of  rail- 
roads were  not  dreams,  even  if  their  ideas 
as   to    how    this    consummation    was    to    be 


brought  about  was  a  huge  and  almost   fatal 
blunder. 

The  improvement  convention  mapped  out 
nine  railroads,  as  mentioned,  and  the  Legisla- 
ture not  only  responded  fully  to  their  com- 
mands, but  proceeded  to  show  that  its  mem- 
bers had  ideas,  too,  in  regard  to  the  State  tak- 
ing hold  of  this  beautiful  Aladdin's  Lamp. 
After  making  all  the  appropriations  called 
for,  it  proceeded  to  hunt  out  the  small 
streams,  forsooth,  often  the  wet-weather  riv- 
ulets, and  appropriate  money  by  the  thou- 
sands to  make  them  navigable  rivers,  or  to 
improve  them  by  locks  and  dams.  Because 
there  was  no  money  in  the  treasury,  they  de- 
termined to  spend  money  with  the  most  per- 
fect abandon.  This  was  reckless  legislation 
— shocking  financiering,  but  it  showed  great 
energy  and  industry,  and  ending  in  the  ap- 
parent total  destruction  of  the  very  objects 
and  purposes  it  had  in  view.  The  Central 
Railroad  was  scotched,  not  killed,  and  soon 
new  schemes  for  its  construction  came  in 
view;  but  all  of  them  lacked  vitality  until  the 
passage  of  the  act  of  Congress  of  September, 
1850,  granting  to  the  State  the  munificent 
donation  of  nearly  3,000,000  acres  of  land 
through  the  heart  of  Illinois  in  aid  of  its 
completion.  The  year  1850  was  truly  a  his- 
torical one  for  the  nation.  That  year  wit- 
nessed the  throes  and  convulsive  tremors  at- 
tending the  great  adjustment  measures,  dur- 
ing that  long  and  exciting  session  of  Con- 
gress. And  amid  the  exciting  struggle  for 
national  life  the  bill  which  finally  created 
the  Illinois  Central  Railroad  passed,  and,  in 
the  Wefet,  gave  the  people's  mind  some  di- 
version from  the  all  absorbing  national  topics. 
At  that  time  the  entire  railroad  in  Illinois 
consisted  of  the  Northern  Cross  Railroad 
from  Meredosia  and  Naples  on  the  Illinois 
River,  to  Springfield;  the  Chicago  &  Galena, 
from  the  former  city   as  far  as   Elgin,  and  a 


198 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


six-mile  track  across  the  American  bottom 
from  opposite  St.  Louis  to  the  mines  in  the 
bluffs.  The  essence  of  the  Congressional 
act  consisted  in  gi'antiug,  not  to  the  road,  but 
to  the  State  of  Illinois,  the  public  lands  to 
the  extent  of  the  even-numbered  sections  for 
the  distance  of  six  sections  deep  on  each  side 
of  the  track,  including  the  contemplated 
trunk  and  branches  of  the  road  from  Cairo 
to  Galena,  with  a  branch  to  Chicago;  for 
the  lands  sold  or  pre-empted  within  this  des- 
ignated twelve- mile  strip,  enough  might  be 
taken  from  even-numbered  sections  for  the 
distance  of  lifteen  miles  on  either  side  of 
the  tracks  to  be  equal  in  quantity  to  them. 
The  act  granted  to  the  railroad  the  right  of 
WE}-  through  public  lauds  of  the  width  of  200 
feet.  The  construction  of  the  road  was 
to  be  simultaneously  commenced  at  its  north- 
ern and  southern  termini,  and  when  com- 
pleted the  branches  were  to  be  constructed, 
the  whole  to  be  completed  within  ten  years, 
in  default  of  which,  the  unsold  lands  were 
to  revert  to  the  Government,  and  for  those 
sold  the  State  was  to  pay  the  Government 
price.  The  minimum  price  of  the  alternate 
or  odd  numbers  was  raised  from  $1.25  to 
$2.50  per  acre.  Here  were  3,000,000  acres 
of  land  given  away  at  an  immense  profit,  as 
by  this  doubling  the  price  of  the  remaining 
half,  the  gain  in  time  in  the  sales  and  the 
increase  of  population  of  the  State  are  beyond 
computation.  The  land  was  taken  out  of 
market  for  two  years,  and  when  restored  in 
the  fall  of  1852,  it  in  fact  brought  an  aver- 
age of  $5  per  acre.  The  purposes  of  Con- 
gress in  donating  this  land  to  the  State  was 
the  construction  of  the  raih'oad,  and  that 
the  State  should  use  it  only  for  that  purpose, 
and  the  Government  required  the  State  to 
make  the  road  subject  always  to  remain  a 
public  highway  for  the  use  of  the  Govern- 
ment of  the  United  States,  free  from  all  tolls 


or  other  charges  for  the  transportation  of 
any  troops,  munitions,  ov  other  property  of  the 
General  Government.  This  is  a  plain  pro- 
vision in  the  Congressional  act,  and  yet  when 
the  war  came,  almost  upon  the  completion  of 
the  road,  this  restriction  was  construed  not 
to  apply  to  the  rolling  stock,  but  only  to  the 
rails,  and,  therefore,  it  only  gave  the  Govern- 
ment the  right  to  i)ut  its  own  rolling  stock 
and  run  them  over  the  road  free,  otherwise 
it  had  to  pay  as  well  as  any  private 
citizen.  The  act  of  Congress  contemplated 
the  extension  of  the  road  south  from  Cairo 
to  Mobile,  and  the  same  provisions  were  ex- 
tended to  the  States  of  Alabama  and  Missis- 
sij^pi.  This  was  the  substance  of  the  first 
subsidy  ever  made  by  Congress  to  aid  in  the 
construction  of  a  railroad,  and  wise,  just  and 
good  as  was  the  measure,  it  opened  a  Pan- 
dora's box  that  has  well  nigh  despoiled  the 
country  of  its  public  domain. 

At  the  same  session.  Congress  passed  an 
act  OT'anting  to  the  State  of  Arkansas  the 
swamp  and  overflowed  lands  unfit  for  culti- 
vation and  remaining  unsold  within  i  ts  borders, 
the  benefits  whereof  were  extended  by  Sec- 
tion 4,  to  each  of  the  other  States  in  which 
there  might  be  such  lands  situated.  By 
this  act  the  State  of  Illinois  received  1,500,- 
000  acres  more.  These  lands  were  subse- 
quently turned  over  to  the  respective  counties 
where  located,  with  the  condition  that  they 
be  drained  and  used  for  school  purposes. 

Mr.  Douglas  prepared  a  petition,  signed 
by  the  Congressional  delegations  of  all  the 
States  along  the  I'oute  of  the  road  fi-om  Mo- 
bile north,  describing  the  probable  location 
of  the  road  and  its  branches  through  Illinois 
and  requesting  the  President  to  order  the 
suspension  of  land  sales  along  the  lines  des- 
ignated, which  was  immediately  done. 

The  Legislature  oi  Illinois  was  to  meet  in 
January,  1851,  and  the  whole  people  of  the 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


199 


State,  but  especially  those  along  the  contem- 
plated line  and  branches,  began  to  discuss 
thp  probabilities  of  what  that  body  would  do 
and  what  it  of  right  should  do.  The  point 
of  departure  of  the  branch  from  the  main 
line  was  au  open  one,  and  rival  towns  began 
to  push  forward  their  claims,  and  much  dis- 
cussion and  contention  pervaded  the  press  of 
the  State.  The  La  Salle  interests  wanted 
the  branch  for  Chicago  taken  off  at  that 
point:  Bloomington  was  making  a  vigorous 
struggle  in  the  same  way,  and  unfortunate 
Shelbyville,  which  was  a  fixed  point  in  the 
old  charters,  feeling  secui'e  on  that  point, 
also  grasped  for  the  branch  deflection  from 
that  point,  and  in  the  end  missed  both  the 
main  line  and  branch.  The  route  proposed 
was  a  direct  line  from  Cairo,  making  di- 
rectly to  Mount  Vernon  and  making  the  sep- 
aration at  that  point,  and  from  Mount  Ver- 
non the  main  line  to  run  to  Carlyle,  Green- 
ville, Hillsboro,  Springfield,  Peoria,  Galena 
and  over  to  Dubuque.  But  by  this  route  the 
belt  of  vacant  land  would  have  failed  to  give 
the  required  donation,  and  hence  the  author- 
ities of  the  road  would  not  adopt  it. 

In  a  previous  chapter  we  have  spoken  at 
some  length  of  several  charters  obtained 
under  the  name  of  the  Illinois  Central,  and 
the  Great  Western  Transportation  Company 
and  the  Cairo  City  &  Canal  Company,  all 
looking  to  the  building  or  securing  the  rail- 
road as  it  is  now  constructed  substantially. 
All  this  multifarious  legislation  was  obtained 
under  what  is  now  known  as  the  Holbrook 
regime,  and  the  many  chai'ters,  amendments, 
repeals  and  re-enactments  affecting  this  sub- 
ject came  to  be  known  as  the  Holbrook  char- 
ters. Holbrook  was  the  chief  factotum  of 
the  Cairo  Company,  and  eventually  undtsr 
the  name  of  a  charter  for  the  Great  Western 
Company  he  secured  for  the  Cairo  City 
Company  the  franchise    of  the   Illinois  Cen- 


tral Railroad.  And  in  the  charter  it  was 
provided  that  "  all  lands  that  may  come  into 
the  possession  of  said  company,  whether  by 
donation  or  purchase,"  were  pledged  and 
mortgaged  in  advance  in  security  for  the 
payment  of  the  bonds  and  obligations  of  the 
company  authorized  to  be  issued  and  con- 
tracted under  the  provisions  of  the  charter. 
By  act  of  March  3,  1845,  thf  charter  of  the 
Great  Western  Railway  Company  was  le- 
pealed;  by  an  act  of  February  10,  184:9,  it  was 
revived  for  the  benefit  of  tbe  Cairo  City  & 
Canal  Company.  The  company  thus  revived 
was  authorized  in  the  construction  of  the  Cen- 
tral Railroad  to  extend  it  on  from  the  southern 
terminus  of  the  canal — La  Salle — to  Chicago, 
"  in  strict  conformity  to  all  obligations,  re- 
strictions, powers  and  privileges  of  the  act 
of  1843.''  Holbrook's  railroad  scheme  then 
gently  took  tbe  Governor  into  a  quiet  partner- 
ship, to  the  extent  of  authorizing  that  oflicia) 
to  hold  in  trust  for  the  use  and  benefit  of  said 
company  whatever  lands  might  be  donated  to 
the  State  by  the  General  Government,  to  aid 
said  road,  subject  to  the  conditions  and  pro- 
visions of  the  bill  (then  pending  before  Con- 
gress and  expected  to  become  a  law)  grant- 
ing the  subsidy  of  3,0(X),000  acres  of  land. 
This  was  a  nice  scheme  to  have  the  grabbing 
all  done  in  advance.  In  the  light  of  the  long 
years  that  are  past,  there  can  now  be  but 
one  construction  put  upon  the  "  Holbrook 
charters."  They  were  not  honest,  and  char- 
ity alone  may  protect  the  Legislature  from 
an  equally  severe  judgment  by  saying  they 
were  ignorant  Holbrook  in  some  unaccount- 
able way  had  impressed  even  such  men  as 
Judge  Breese  and  Gov.  Casey  that  he 
was  a  great  and  pure  financier,  and  they  were 
ready  to  confess  they  could  see  no  signs  of  a 
cat  in  the  meal  tub.  The  Legislature 
seemed  to  delight  in  dancing  attendance 
upon  his  slightest  wishes,    and  so  far  as  in 


300 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


their  power,  they  seemed  ready  to  lay  the 
State  at  his  feet.  But  most  fortunately  for 
Illinois,  Judge  Douglas  was  alive  and  at  this 
time  a  United  States  Senator  from  Illinois, 
and  he  could  not  be  hoodwinked  by  the 
plausible  schemes  against  the  vital  interests 
of  his  State.  Daring  the  session  of  the  Illi- 
nois Legislature  of  1849,  he  appeared  be- 
fore that  body  (a  special  session)  and  in  an 
able  and  effective  speech,  which  he  delivered 
October  23,  he  showed  the  Legislature  that 
a  palpable  fraud  had  been  practiced  upon  it 
in  its  session  of  the  preceding  winter  in  pro- 
curing from  it  this  charter;  and  that  had  the 
bill  in  Congress  met  with  no  delay  on  ac- 
count of  this  fraud,  this  vast  property  would 
have  gone  into  the  hands  of  Holbrook  &  Co. 
to  enrich  those  scheming  corporators,  with 
little  assm-ance,  as  they  represented  no 
wealth,  and  gave  no  assurances  that  the 
road  would  ever  be  built;  that  Con- 
gress had  an  insuperable  objection  to 
making  the  grant  for  the  benefit  of  a  pri- 
vate corporation.  The  connection  of  these 
Holbrook  companies  with  the  Central  Rail- 
road in  the  estimation  of  Congress,  presented 
an  impassable  barrier  to  the  grant  But  the 
same  Legislature  that  had  granted  the  char- 
ter refused  to  repeal  it  even  after  it  had  been 
thus  exposed  by  Judge  Douglas.  Thus  mat- 
ters stood  and  the  schemers  supposed  their 
triirmph  complete  until  the  fact  finally  was 
brought  to  their  attention  that  Judge  Doug- 
las would  never  permit  Congress  to  pass  the 
bill  in  any  shape  whereby  •  the  Holbrooks 
could  reap  all  the  benefits.  Judge  Douglas 
simply  said  he  preferred  the  bill  should 
never  pass  than  that  the  State  and  the  Gov- 
ernment should  be  robbed,  and  then  no  cer- 
tainty the  road  would  ever  be  built.  This 
was  unexpected  difficulties  for  the  schemers, 
and  Holbrnok's  genius  at  once  set  about  the 
way   of   getting   up    a    plausible   dodge   to 


bridge  the  trouble.  Il  was  ascertained  that 
Mr.  Douglas  insisted  as  a  condition  prece- 
dent that  Holbrook  &  Co.  should  release  to 
the  State  not  only  their  charter,  but  all 
claims  to  the  benefits  of  the  Congressional 
enactment.  On  December  15,  1849,  Mr. 
Holbrook,  as  President  of  the  company,  exe- 
cuted a  protest  of  release  to  the  Governor,  a 
duplicate  of  which  was  transmitted  to  Mr. 
Douglas  at  Washington.  Bat  the  Senator 
declined  to  accept  this  as  a  document  of  any 
value  or  binding  force  upon  the  company  of 
which  Holbrook  was  Px'esident,  as  it  was 
without  the  sanction  of  the  stockholders  or 
even  the  board  of  directors.  While  he  did 
not  impute  any  such  motive,  the  company, 
he  believed,  was  still  in  the  condition  which 
would  enable  it  to  take  all  the  lands  granted, 
divide  them  among  its  stockholders  and  re- 
tain its  chartered  privileges  without  build- 
ingthe  road.  He  was  unwilling  to  give  his 
approval  to  any  arrangement  by  which  the 
State  could  be  deprived  possibly  of  any  of 
the  benefits  resulting  from  the  expected 
grant.  For  the  protection  of  the  State  and 
as  an  assurance  to  Congress,  the  execution 
of  a  full  and  complete  lease  of  all  rights  and 
privileges  and  a  surrender  of  the  Holbrook 
charters  and  all  acts,  or  parcels  of  acts,  sup- 
plemented or  amendatory  thereof,  or  relating 
in  anywise  to  the  Central  Railroad,  so  as  to 
leave  the  State,  through  its  Legislature,  free 
to  make  such  disposition  of  the  lands  and 
such  arrangement  for  the  construction  of  the 
road  as  might  be  deemed  best,  was  de- 
manded . 

Judge  Douglas'  requirements  were  finally 
fully  complied  with,  but  only  after  the  effort 
had  been  made  to  get  him  to  accept  an  in- 
sufficient release  and  one  that,  no  doubt, 
had  he  accepted,  would  have  resulted  in  again 
bankrupting  the  State,  and  perhaps  indefinite- 
ly delaying  the  building  of  the  Illinois  Central 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


201 


Railroad.  Then  Congress  passed  the  act  mak 
ing  the  donation  of  land.  No  sooner  had  the 
act  passed  than  did  Holbrook  in  many  ways, 
among  others  by  letters  to  parties  in  Illinois 
which  were  published,  set  about  making 
the  pretense  that  his  company  still  was  the 
only  rightful  claimants  to  the  land  grant, 
and  had  the  only  charter  that  covered  the 
ground  on  which  the  road  must  be  built. 
In  a  letter  from  him,  dated  New  York,  Sep- 
tember 25,  1850,  to  a  citizen  of  Illinois,  he 
said:  "  I  can  truly  say  that  I  am  under  ob- 
ligations to  those  who  with  Gov.  Casey 
prevented  the  repeal  of  the  charter  of  the 
Great  "Western  Railway  Company.  It  was 
granted  in  good  faith  and  under  no  other 
that  the  State  can  now  grant.  *  *  *  i 
am  now  organizing  the  company  to  com- 
mence the  work  this  fall  and  put  a  large  part 
of  the  road  under  contract  as  soon  as  possi- 
ble. We  shall  make  the  road  on  the  old 
line,  etc. ,  etc. "  This  letter  was  widely  pub- 
lished,  as  Holbrook  probably  designed  it 
should  be.  A  Chicago  paper  in  the  interests 
of  Holbrook  published  an  editorial,  taking 
even  stronger  gi'ounds  than  did  Holbrook, 
and  almost  said  in  so  many  words  that  IMr. 
Douglas  had  been  deceived — that  he  was  a 
fool,  and  that  now  Holbrook  &  Co.  had  all  in 
their  hands  they  would  proceed  to  do  the 
work  and  defy  IVIi-.  Douglas. 

The  suffering  of  the  people  fi'om  the  in- 
ternal impi'ovement  swindle  had  been  too 
severe  and  too  recent  to  allow  them  to  be  in- 
different to  these  old  pretensions  of  Hol- 
brook «&  Co.  The  alarm  ran  over  the  State 
and  iutensitied  as  the  time  came  for  the 
assembling  of  the  Legislature  that  was  to  have 
in  its  hands  the  splendid  government  gift.* 

In   November,    before  the    meeting  of  the 

*It  should  he  here  btatcd  that  this  Great  Western  CharttT  was 
the  new  one  ami  incliileij  at  lenst  one  pr  >miDeiit  mm  in  nearly 
every  county  in  tlie  State,  and  it  was  never  8upposed  ail  these  were 
influenced  by  evil  designs  upon  the  State. 


Legislature,  Waiter  B.  Scates,  one  of  the 
new  corporators  of  the  Great  Western  Rail- 
road Company  of  184^,  addressed  a  letter 
of  invitation  to  all  his  co- corporators,  duly 
named,  to  meet  at  Springfield,  January  6, 
1851,  for  the  pm-pose  of  taking  such  action 
as  might  be  deemed  expedient  for  the  public 
good  by  surrendering  up  their  charter  to  the 
State,  or  such  other  com-se  as  might  be  de- 
sired by  the  General  Assembly,  to  remove  all 
doubts  and  questions  relative  to  the  com- 
pany's rights  and  powers,  and  to  disembar- 
rass that  body  with  regard  to  the  disposal  of 
the  gi-aat  of  land  from  Congress  for  the 
building  of  the  much-needed  Central  Rail- 
road. 

With  the  opening  of  the  General  Assembly 
appeared  at  Springfield  Mr.  Robert  Rautoul, 
of  Boston,  who  being  the  duly  accredited 
agent  of  Robert  Schuyler,  George  Griswold, 
Gov.  Morris,  Jonathan  Sturgis,  George  W. 
Ludlow  and  John  F.  Sandford,  of  New 
York,  and  David  A  Neal,  Franklin  Haven 
and  Robert  Rantoul,  Jr.,  of  Boston,  presented  a 
memorial  to  the  Legislatui'e,  embracing  a 
most  just  and  liberal  proposition  to  build  the 
road.  The  memorialists  stated  that  they 
had  examined  the  act  of  Congress  in  refer- 
ence to  the  road,  and-  had  examined  the  re- 
som-ces  of  the  country  through  which  the 
proposed  road  was  to  pass,  and  estimated  the 
cost  and  time  necessary  to  build  the  road ;  that 
they  proposed  to  form  a  joint-stock  com2:)any 
of  themselves  and  such  others  as  they  might 
associate  with  them,  and  as  they  say  "includ- 
ing among  their  number  persons  of  large 
experience  in  the  construction  of  several  of 
the  priucipal  railroads  of  the  United  States, 
and  of  the  means  and  credit  sufficient  to 
place  beyond  doubt  their  ability  to  perform 
what  they  hereinafter  propose,  etc."  They 
then  offer  to  perform  all  the  requirements  of 
the  act  of  Congi'ess  under  the  directiou  of 


302 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


the  State,  and  to  build  the  road  on  or  before 
the  4th  of  July,  1854.  That  the  road  should 
be  in  all  respects  equal  to  the  Boston  &  Albany 
Kailroad,  and  conclude  as  follows: 

"And  the  said  company  from  and  after  the 
completion   of   said   road,    will    pay   to  the 

State  of   Illinois  annually per   cent   of 

the  gross  earnings  of  said  road,  without  de- 
duction or  charge  for  expenses,  or  for  any 
other  matter  or  cause;  provided,  that  the  State 
of  Illinois  will  gi-ant  to  the  subcribers  a  charter 
of  incorporation,  with  terms  mutually  advan- 
tageous, with  powers  and  limitations  as  they 
in  their  wisdom  may  think  fit,  and  as  shall  be 
accepted  by  the  said  company  and  as  will 
sufficiently  remunerate  the  subscribers  for 
their  care,  labor  and  expenditure  in  that  be- 
half incurred,  and  will  enable  them  to  avail 
themselves  of  the  lands  donated  by  the  said 
act,  to  raise  the  funds  or  some  portion  of  the 
funds  necessary  for  the  construction  and 
equipment  of  said  road. " 

This  memorial,  coming  as  it  did  from  such 
eminent  and  strong  financial  men,  was  well 
received  by  the  Legislature.  The  time  for 
the  completion  of  the  road  was  much  shorter 
than  any  one  ever  had  then  contemplated,  yet 
Mr.  Kantoul  was  willing  to  adjust  the  con- 
tract so  as  to  prevent  a  failure,  not  only  on 
this  point,  but  to  give  any  secui'ity  that  the 
proceeds  arising  from  the  lands  would  be 
faithfuly  applied  to  their  intended  purpose. 
It  was  so  fair  to  all  parties  concerned  that 
it  was  eventually  made  the  basis  for  the 
charter  of  the  railroad.  At  this  time  there 
was  developed  over  the  State  an  opposition 
to  turning  over  to  a  private  corporation  the 
great  donation  of  laud.  Some  of  the  fossils 
of  the  State  folly  wanted  the  State  to  keep  the  j 
land,  build  the  road,  pay  off  the  State  debt,  and  | 
a  hundred  other  wild  and  silly  schemes  were 
offered  and  suggested.  Then  there  is  but  j 
little  question  but  that  Holbrook  &  Co.  had  ! 


friends  in  the  Legislature,  and  their  hope  lay 
in  inaction  and  a  refusal  to  accept  the  prop- 
osition of  Mr.  Rantoul  and  the  other  memo- 
rialists. When  the  bill  was  introduced,  many 
amendments  were  offered,  such  as  requiring 
payment"  for  right  of  way  to  pre-emptionists 
or  squatters  on  the  public  land,  without  re- 
gard to  benefits,  etc.  Then  there  was  an  op- 
portunity for  much  wrangling  over  the  point 
of  divergence  of  the  branch  from  the  main 
line,  but  which  was  finally  left  with  the  com- 
pany to  fix  anywhere  "  north  of  the  parallel 
39°  3"  of  north  latitude."  Much  discussion 
was  had  as  to  the  points  in  the  main  line, 
and  what  towns  it  should  touch,  but  all 
intennediate  points  finally  failed  except  the 
northeast  corner  of  Town  '21  north,  Range 
2  east, Third  Principal  Meridian,  from  which 
the  road  in  its  course  should  not  vary  more 
than  five  miles,  which  was  effer'ted  by  Gren. 
Gridley  of  the  Senate,  and  by  which  the 
towns  of  Decatur,  Clinton  and  Bloomington 
were  assured  of  the  road. 

One  of  the  mysteries  that  developed  while 
the  railroad  bill  was  lingering,  Avas  a  scheme 
for  swallowing  the  road,  the  State,  and  much 
of  everything  else,  that  was  absolutely  so 
startling  and  unique  that  its  paternity  has 
always  been  in  doubt.  The  bold  originality 
and  the  unknown  paternity  of  the  bantling 
gave  it  something  of  a  kinship  to  Junius' 
letters,  with  all  of  Junius'  ability  left  out. 
It  appeared  on  every  member's  table  one 
morning  in  January,  in  the  shape  of  a  volu- 
minous printed  bill  for  a  charter,  the  pro- 
vision whereof,  closely  scrutinized,  con- 
tained about  as  hard  a  bargain  as  creditor 
ever  offered  bondsman.  It  was  cooll}'  pro- 
posed, among  other  provisions,  that  the  State 
appoint  commissioners  to  locate  the  road, 
survey  the  route  for  the  main  stem  and 
branches  and  select  the  land  granted  by 
Congress,    all   at  the  expense  of  the  State; 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


203 


agents  were  to  be  appointed  by  the  Governor 
to  apply  to  land-holders  along  the  route  who 
might  be  benefited  by  the  road,  for  sub- 
scriptions, also  at  the  expense  of  the  State. 

"  All  persons  subcribing  and  advancing 
money  for  said  purpose  shall  be  entitled  to 
draw  interest  upon  the  sums  at  — ■  per  cent 
per  annum  from  the  day  of  said  advances, 
and  shall  be  entitled  to  designate  and  regis- 
ter an  amount  of  '  new  internal  improve- 
ment stock  of  this  State,'  equal  to  four  times 
the  amount  so  advanced,  or  stock  of  this 
State  'known  as  '  Interest  bonds,'  equal  to 
three  times  the  money  so  advanced,  and  said 
stock  so  described  may  be  registered  at  the 
agency  of  the  State  of  Illinois,  to  the  city  of 
New  York,  by  the  party  subscribing  or  by 
any  other  person  to  whom  they  may  assign 
the  right  at  any  time  after  paying  the  sub- 
scription, in  proportion  of  the  amount  paid; 
and  said  stock  shall  be  indorsed,  registered 
and  signed  by  the  agent  appointed  by  the 
Governor  for  the  puipose,  and  a  copy  of  said 
register  shall  be  tiled  in  the  office  of  the  Au- 
ditor of  Public  Accounts,  as  evidence  to  show 
the  particular  stock  secured  or  provided  for 
as  hereinafter  mentioned." 

The  donation  from  the  Government  to  the 
State  was  to  be  conveyed  by  the  State  to  the 
company,  to  be  by  it  offered  for  sale  upon 
the  completion  of  sections  of  sixty  miles, 
the  expenses  to  be  paid  by  the  State;  the 
money  was  to  go  to  the  managers  of  this  ter- 
rible railroad,  but  the  State  was  to  receive 
certificates  of  stock  for  the  same;  two  of  the 
acting  managers  were  to  receive  salaries  of 
$2,500,  and  the  others  $1,500,  the  company 
with  the  sanction  of  the  Governor  to  pur- 
chase iron,  etc.,  pledging  the  road  for  pay- 
ment, and  the  road,  property  and  stock  to  be 
exempt  from  taxation.  The  bill  also  em- 
braced a  bank  in  accordance  with  the  provis- 
ions of  the  general  free  banking  law  adopted 


by  the  State,  making  the  railroad  stock  the 
basijj.  It  also  provided  that  if  the  constitu- 
tion was  amended  (which  failed  to  carry) 
changing  the  two-mill  tax  to  a  sinking  fund, 
to  be  generally  applied  in  redemption  of  the 
State  debt,  that  then  the  stock  registered  un- 
der the  act  should  also  participate  in  the 
proceeds  thereof. 

This  was  the  scheme,  and  while  the  im- 
mortality due  the  inventor,  because  he  has 
remained  unknown,  has  been  withheld,  we 
propose  to  lift  the  veil  and  let  the  author's 
name  receive  the  laurel  crown.  Any  one  who 
will  come  to  Cairo  and  carefully  study  Hol- 
brook's  tracks  all  around  the  city,  will  at 
once  conclude  that  nature  never  made  but 
one  man  who  could  have  conceived  such  a 
scheme  and  launched  it  at  the  heads  of  the 
Illinois  Legislature,  and  Holbrook  was  that 
man.  There  is  but  one  thing  about  it  that 
casts  the  slightest  doubt  upon  its  paternity 
and  that  is  where  he  proposes  to  divide  the 
salaries  with  mox'e  than  one — thi"?  is  unac- 
countable and  to  some  extent  incomjirehensi- 
ble. 

It  will  be  noticed  in  the  quotation  that  we 
give  above  from  the  memorialist's  proposi- 
tion, that  they  offered,  among  other  things, 
to  pay  the  State  annually  a  certain  per  cent 
of  the  gross  earnings  of  the  road  without  de- 
ductions for  expenses  or  otherwise.  The. 
amount  was  left  blank  in  their  pi'oposition, 
and  the  well  understood  fact  was  at  that 
time  they  anticipated  it  would  be  fixed  at  ten 
per  centum  of  the  gross  earnings.  But  after 
they  had  secured  substantially  the  accept- 
auce  of  their  projio.sition  by  the  Legislature, 
they  set  about  getting  this  blank  tilled  in  at 
as  low  a  tigure  as  possible.  W.  H.  Bissell 
was  then  a  Repi-esentative  in  Congress  from 
Illinois,  and  although  he  was  by  profession 
a  doctor,  and  not  a  lawyer,  yet  these  shrewd 
capitalists  employed  him   as  their  attorney, 


204 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


knowing  it  was  his  great  personal  popularity 
that  would  serve  their  purposes  much  better 
than  all  the  legal  lore  in  the  world,  in  the 
peculiar  business  they  just  then  had  in  hand. 
Mr.  Bissel  left  his  seat  in  Congress  and  at- 
tended upon  the  session  of  the  Illinois  Leg- 
islature as  a  lobbyist,  and  the  unfortunate 
results  to  the  State  were  that  the  State  con- 
ceded a  reduction  of  three  per  cent  and  the 
amount  was  fixed  at  seven  per  cent  of  the 
gross  proceeds. 

In  the  Legislature,  after  all  manner  of  de- 
lays and  procrastinations,  until  the  heel  of 
the  session,  Mr.  J.  L.  D.  Morrison,  of  the  Sen- 
ate, brought  in  a  substitute  for  the  pending 
bill,  which,  after  being  amended  several 
times,  was  finally  passed — two  votes  dissent- 
ing— and  shortly  after,  and  without  amend- 
ment, the  house  also  passed  it,  and  thus,  on 
the  10th  day  of  February,  1851,  it  became  a 
law.  The  final  passage  of  the  bill  was  cel- 
ebrated in  Chicago  by  the  firing  of  cannon 
and  other  civic  demonsti'ations  in  honor  of 
the  event. 

There  was  some  delay  in  the  connnence- 
ment  of  the  work  on  the  road,  in  conse- 
quence of  the  ruling  of  Mr.  Justin  Butter- 
field,  Commissioner  of  the  Greneral  Land 
Ofiice,  but  the  President  reversed  the  Secre- 
tary's decision  and  the  transfer  of  the  land 
was  duly  made,  and  in  March,  1852,  the 
contracts  were  let  and  the  work  commenced 
and  rapidly  pushed  to  completion. 

This  brings  us  to  the  completion  of  that 
important  part  of  the  life  of  a  railroad, 
namely,  the  bringing  it  into  existence  and 
successfully  putting  it  on  its  feet,  or,  in 
other  words,  the  organization  of  a  chartered 
company,  under  a  liberal  and  just  funda- 
mental law,  and  the  providing  ways  and 
means  that  put  money  into  the  hands  of  the 
corporation  to  carry  on  its  work.  Ail  this 
had   been    done,     and   the    good    people    of 


Cairo  had  great  occasion  to  rejoice  and  feel 
glad.  It  was  the  realization  of  a  long  de- 
fered  hope,  where  promise  had  been  the 
brightest  and  failure  and  disappointment  the 
most  complete.  The  improvement  of  na- 
tional importance,  and  upon  which  hung  all 
Cairo's  hopes  for  the  future,  was  assured. 

Much  of  the  credit,  and  therefore  a  meed 
of  praise,  for  securing  the  building  of  this 
road,  is  due  to  Stephen  A.  Douglas,  Judge 
Breese,  Hon.  David  J  Baker,  Miles  A.  Gil- 
bert, D.  B.  Holbrook,  the  old  Cairo  City  & 
Canal  Company,  Judge  Jenkins,  Justin 
Buttertield  and  many  others  of  Cairo  and 
other  portions  of  the  country.  And  so  far 
as  we  know,  all  were  content  to  rest  their 
claims  to  the  honors  in  the  work  to  the  keep- 
ing of  a  grateful  posterity  except  Judge 
Breese.  The  rejoicing  over  its  success  had 
not  abated  its  first  noisy  enthusiasm  when 
the  voice  of  Judge  Breese  was  raised,  assert- 
ing his  exclusive  right  to  the  paternity  of  the 
enterprise,  and  he  based  his  claim  to  the 
credit  upon  the  fact  that  he  had  projected 
the  whole  thing  in  1835,  and  that  when  in 
the  Senate  he  had  tried  to  do  exactly  what 
Judge  Douglas  was  afterward  enabled  to  do 
by  his  previous  labors.  It  was  a  conception 
and  labor  certainly  worth  the  pride  of  any 
man.  Visions  of  fame,  immortality  and 
emoluments  and  office  were  easily  discover- 
able in  it. 

Judge  Breese   had    been    a  Senator  up  to 

1849,  when  he  was  succeeded  by  Gen. 
Shields.  In  1850,  Breese  was  in  the  State 
Legislatui'e.     Under  date  of  December  23, 

1850,  among  other  things,  in  a  reply  to  the 
Illinois  State  Register  regarding  his  favor- 
ing the  "  Holbrook  charters,"  he  says: 

"  The  Central  Railroad  has  been  a  con- 
trolling object  with  me  for  more  than  fifteen 
years,  and  I  would  sacrifice  all  my  personal 
advantages  to  see  it  made.     These  fellows  who 


/e^^-L^-^ 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


207 


are  making  such  an  ado  about  it  now,  have 
been  -whipped  into  its  support.  They  are 
not  for  it  now,  and  do  not  desire  to  have  it 
made  because  I  get  the  credit  of  it.  This  is 
inevitable.  I  must  have  the  credit  of  it  for  I 
originated  it  in  1835,  and.  when  in  the  Sen- 
ate, passed  three  different  bills  through  that 
body  to  aid  in  its  construction.  My  suc- 
cessor had  an  easy  task,  as  I  had  opened  the 
way  for  him.  It  was  the  argument  made  in 
my  report  on  it  that  silenced  all  opposition 
and  made  the  passage  easy.  I  claim  the 
credit,  and  no  one  can  take  it  from  me." 

"When  this  came  to  the  attention  of  Judge 
Douglas  in  "Washington,  he  took  occasion 
to  reply,  on  January  5,  1851,  at  length,  giv- 
ing a  detailed  history  of  all  the  efforts  made 
in  Congress  to  procure  the  pre-emption  or 
grant  of  land  in  aid  of  building  this  road, 
saying:  "You  were  the  champion  of  the  pol- 
icy of  granting  pre-emption  rights  for  the 
benefit  of  a  private  company  [the  Holbrook] 
and  I  was  the  advocate  of  alternate  sections 
to  the  State."  The  letter  is  long  and  full  of 
interesting  facts  in  relation  to  the  acts  and 
doings  in  Congress  relative  to  the  Illinois 
Central  Railroad.  Judge  Breese  rejoined, 
under  date  of  January  21,  1851,  through  the 
columns  of  the  same  paper,  at  gi-eat  length, 
claiming  that  besides  seeking  to  obtain  pre- 
emption aid  he  was  also  the  first  to  introduce 
"a  bill  for  the  absolute  grant  of  the  alternate 
sections  for  the  Central  and  Northern  Cross 
Railroads,"  but  finding  no  favorable  time 
to  call  it  up,  it  failed.  "  It  was  known 
from  my  first  entrance  into  Congi-ess  that 
I  would  accomplish  the  measure,  in  some 
shape,  if  possible."  But  the  Illinois  mem- 
bers of  the  House,  he  asserts,  took  no 
interest  in  the  passage  of  any  law  for  the 
benefit  of  the  Central  Railroad,  either  by 
grant  or  pre-emption.  He  claims  no 
share   in   the    passage   of  the  law  of    1850. 


"  Your  (Douglas')  claim  shall  not,  with  my 
consent,  be  disparaged,  nor  those  of  your 
associates.  I  will  myself  weave  your  chap- 
let,  and  place  it,  with  no  envious  hand, 
upon  your  brow.  At  the  same  time  history 
shall  do  me  justice.  I  claim  to  have  first 
projected  this  road  in  my  letter  of  1835.  and 
in  the  judgment  of  impartial  and  disinter- 
ested men  my  claim  will  be  allowed.  I  have 
said  and  written  more  in  favor  of  it  than  any 
other.  It  has  been  the  highest  of  my  am- 
bitions to  accomplish  it,  and  when  my  last 
resting  place  shall  be  marked  by  the  cold 
marble  which  gratitude  or  affection  may 
erect,  I  desire  for  it  no  other  inscription  than 
this,  that  he  who  sleeps  beneath  it  projected 
the  Central  Railroad." 

He  also  at  length  cited  his  letter  of  October 
16,  1835,  to  John  Y.  Sawyer  in  which  the 
plan  of  the  Central  Railroad  was  fii-st  fore- 
shadowed, which  opens  as  follows:  "Having 
some  leisure  from  the  labor  of  my  circuit,  I 
am  induced  to  devote  a  portion  of  time  in 
giving  to  the  public  a  plan,  the  outline  of 
which  was  suggested  to  me  by  an  intelligent 
friend  in  Bond  County  a  few  days  since." 

To  this  Douglas,  under  date  of  Washing- 
ton, February  22,  1851,  surrejoins  at  con- 
siderable length,  and  in  reference  to  this 
opening  sentence  in  the  Sawyer  letter,  ex- 
claims: "  How  is  this!  The  father  of  the 
Central  Railroad,  with  a  Christian  meekness 
worthy  of  all  praise,  kindly  consents  to  be 
the  reputed  parent  of  a  hopeful  son  begotten 
for  him  by  an  intelligent  friend  in  a  neigh- 
boring county.  I  forbear  pushing  this  in- 
quiry further.  It  involves  a  question  of 
morals  too  nice,  of  domestic  relations  too 
delicate  for  me  to  expose  to  the  public  gaze. 
Inasmuch,  however,  as  you  have  furnished 
me  with  becoming  gravity,  the  epitaph  which 
you  desire  engrossed  upon  your  tomb  when 
called  upon  to  pav  the  last  debt  of  nature, 

12 


208 


HISTOKY  OF  CAIRO. 


you  will  allow  me  to  suggest  that  as  such  an 
inscription  is  a  solemn  and  a  sacred  thing, 
and  truth  its  essential  ingredient,  would  it 
not  be  well  to  make  a  slight  modification,  so 
as  to  correspond  with  the  facts  as  stated  in 
your  letter  to  Mr.  Sawyer,  which  would 
make  it  read  thus  in  your  letter  to  me :  It 
has  been  |the  highest  object  of  my  ambition 
to  accomplish  the  Central  Railroad,  and 
when  my  last  resting  place  shall  be  marked 
by  the  cold  marble  which  gratitude  or  affec- 
tion may  erect,  I  desire  for  it  no  other  in- 
scription than  this:  He  who  sleeps  beneath 
this  stone  voluntarily  consented  to  become 
the  putative  father  of  a  lovely  child  called 
the  Central  Railroad,  and  begotten  'for  him 
by  an]  intelligent  friend  in  the  County  of 
Bond." 

The  question  as  to  "  who  killed  Cock 
Robin  f  "  seems  to  have  here  stopped,  and 
Judge  Breese  probably  retired  from  the 
controversy,  feeling  that  he  had  asserted  his 
Sparrowship  rather  prematurely,  and  that 
the  "  cold  marble  of  gratitude  or  affection  " 
may  never  tell  the  story  just  as  he  fondly 
hoped  it  would.  The  truth  is  the  student  of 
the  history  of  Illinois  will  come  to  the  con- 
clusion that  Judge  Breese  never  made  a 
greater  mistake  than  when  he  entered  poli- 
tics, and  imagined  he  was  a  statesman,  and 
allowed  his  political  disappointments  to  sour 
and  cloud  his  life.  His  egregious  error  in 
this  respect  reminds  one  of  the  interviews  be- 
tween Fredrick  the  Great  and  Voltaire.  They 
were  great  friends,  and  often  Voltaire  was 
called  to  the  court  and  entertained  for  weeks 
and  months.  The  king  much  wanted  to 
talk  to  Voltaire  because  the  statesman  really 
believed  his  true  gi'eatness  lay  in  literature 
and  poetiy,  and  Voltaire  wanted  to  talk  to 
the  king  because  he  never  doubted  that  his 
own  true  genius  was  all  in  the  line  of  state- 
craft and  military  affairs.     And  when  they 


met  Voltaire  would  talk  military  all  the 
time,  because  that  was  something  he  knew 
nothing  about,  and  the  king  would  with  equal 
persistence  read  his  poems  and  talk  literature 
all  the  time,  because  he  knew  as  little  of 
that  as  Voltaire  did  of  empire  or  war.  They 
would  complacently  exchange  sides,  and 
leaving  those  fields  in  which  each  stood  pre- 
eminent, they  would  talk  the  most  profound- 
ly idiotic,  and  invariably  separate,  denounc- 
ing each  other  as  hopeless  idiots,  to  meet 
again  in  great  friendship  the  next  morning 
and  renew  the  incurable  folly. 

Breese,  no  doubt,  believed  his  talents, 
genius  and  (education  made  him  a  great  states- 
man, and  that  it  was  merely  rusting  out  a 
great  life  to  chain  it  to  the  woolsack.  He 
probably  estimated  that  Douglas  would  have 
made  an  estimable  Justice  of  the  Peace,  but 
it  was  farcical  to  hoist  him  over  his  (Breese's) 
head  as  a  statesman.  The  truth  is,  the  peo- 
ple understood  Judge  Breese  much  better 
than  he  understood  himself,  and  they  put 
him  exactly  where  he  was  best  fitted  to  be, 
and  he  will  go  into  history  as  an  eminent 
jui'ist.  He  made  the  gi'eat  mistake  of  start- 
ing life  as  a  politician,  and  he  reached  the 
United  States  Senate,  but  when  he  was  over- 
shadowed there  by  his  junior  colleague,  the 
"  dapper  little  schoolteacher  from  Win- 
chester," and  actually  defeated  for  a  second 
term  by  a  wild  Irishman  with  brogue  a  mile 
thick,  he  returned  to  Illinois,  heart-broken, 
and  in  desperation  accepted  a  place  upon 
the  bench,  where  he  worked  until  the  day  of 
his  death.  His  short  political  life  was  not 
a  fortunate  one,  and,  in  fact,  was  pretty 
much  a  mere  blunder  from  beginning  to  end, 
while  this  judicial  cai'eer  was  brilliant  and 
eminent. 

Judge  Douglas  was  the  better  poised  mind 
of  the  two,  yet  there  is  but  little  doubt  he 
would  have  as  completely  failed  on  the  bench 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


209 


as  had  Breese  in  politics.  He  tried  a  brief 
term  as  Judge,  and?  realizing  his  failure,  he 
got  out  of  it  as  soon  as  possible,  never  to  re- 
turn. He  would  have  been  a  great  lawyer, 
but  he  never  could  have  made  a  judge.  He 
may  not  have  been  a  statesman,  we  do  not 
assert  that  he  was,  but  if  not,  he  approached  it 
close  enough  to  be  one  of  the  most  superb 
demagoges  the  country  has  produced.  We 
do  not  use  the  word  demagogue  in  an  offen- 
sive sense.  If  Douglas  fell  short  of  that 
breadth  and  profundity  that  marks  the  line 
between  the  demagogue  and  statesman,  then 
by  what  name  in  heaven's  sake  shall  we  des- 
ignate all  the  other  little  great  men  of  Illi- 
nois ? — the  political  buzzards  that  have  been 
with  us  almost  as  numerously  as  the  locusts 
in  Egypt.  In  short,  who  is  Illinois'  great 
man,  if  not  Douglas?  Who  will  the  histo- 
rian of  a  hundred  years  hence,  when  without 
bias  or  prejudice  or  judgment  formed  for 
him  by  others  or  a  popular  hurrah,  will, 
with  severe  discrimination,  unmask  the 
shams  and  cheap  frauds,  and  dispassionately 
examine  what  each  one  did  do,  and  strike 
the  balance  sheet  and  hold  forth  the  results, 
without  mercy  and  without  fear,  we  say  who 
will  he  name  as  the  suitable  irontispiece  to 
the  history  of  Illinois  up  to  this  time.  One 
thing  alone  is  certain  to  come  pure  and 
bright  from  this  alembic,  and  that  is  the  fact 
that  Illinois  to-day  owes  more  to  Judge 
Douglas  than  to  all  her  other  notorious  men 
put  togethex*.  He  gave  the  country  the  Illi- 
nuis  Central  Railroad,  and  in  the  grand 
scheme  he  not  only  refused  to  be  corrupted, 
but  he  crushed  and  annihilated  the  swai'ming 
Credit  Mobilier  robbers  that  sprung  up  in  al- 
most countless  numbers  all  along  its  path. 
They  could  neither  corrupt  him,  intimidate 
him,  nor  crush  him  out,  and  the  grand  re- 
sult is  a  marvel  in  the  history  of  legislation 
upon  this  continent,   there  is  no  parallel  to 


this  great  and  benign  act.  It  was  the  open- 
ing wedge  to  the  whole  Mississippi  Valley 
foi  the  millions  of  happy,  prosperous  people, 
teeming  with  content  and  well  paid  lives 
that  have  made  the  rich  wilderness  truly 
to  blossom  as  the  rose.  And  in  the  honesty 
and  purity  that  marked  the  whole  transac- 
tion, it  stands  alone  in  American  history. 
He  knew  that  he  was  a  poor  man — one  who 
had  served  his  country,  and  instead  of  com- 
mencing poor  and  retiring  rich,  had  com- 
menced rich  and  would  retire  a  pauper, 
and  that  a  nod  of  his  head  woiild  have 
put  ill-gotten  millions  in  his  easy  'reach, 
and  he  stood  unflinchingly  between  the 
people's  treasiu-e  and  the  ravenous  horde, 
and  every  day,  every  hour,  every  citizen  of 
Illinois — nay,  more  than  twenty  millions  of 
the  people  of  the  West — are  rea})ing  the 
fruits,  enjoying  the  comforts  and  realizing, 
in  some  way,  the  wisdom  of  his  guardianship 
of  their  interests  at  a  critical  moment  of  the 
country's  life,  and  before  a  majority  of  those 
now  living  were  born. 

In  the  year  1852,  the  necessary  survey 
having  been  completed,  chiefly  by  Charles 
Thrup,  of  Cairo,  under  the  direction  of  Col, 
Ashley,  Division  Engineer,  and  the  timber 
having  been  cleared  from  the  route  of  the 
railroad,  the  work  of  construction  at  the 
Cairo  end  of  the  road  was  vigorously  com- 
menced. 

Messrs.  Ellis,  Jenkins  &  Co.  became  con- 
tractors, their  contracts  extending  from 
Cairo  to  the  north  line  of  Union  County. 
The  law  required  the  work  to  be  commenced 
simultaneously  at  the  north  and  south  ter- 
mini of  the  road.  The  contractors  speedily 
had  about  foui'  hundred  men  here  at  work, 
and  the  heavy  timber  was  cleared  from  the 
track  and  the  work  commenced;  and  other 
men  were  brought  by  them  as  fast  as  they 
could  be  procured,  and  in  the  city  and  above 


210 


HISTORY   OF   CAIRO. 


the  city  and  on  the  Cache  another  force  were 
soon  clearing  away  the  timber,  and  within 
Alexander  County  there  wero  between  seven 
hundred  and  a  thousaud  laborers  at  work. 
Cairo  was  bustling,  then,  again  with  busy 
life.  Ellis,  Jenkins  &  Co.  failed  and  sur- 
rendered their  work,  when  Maurice  Brodprick 
became  the  contractor,  and  under  his  direc- 
tion the  Cairo  levees,  nearly  as  they  are  now 
(except  the  Mississippi  levee),  were  con- 
structed. These  were  the  long- anticipated, 
flush  times  in  Cairo  once  more.  The  sudden 
influx  of  people  trebled  at  once  her  popula- 
tion, ^ve  business  an  unparalleled  activity 
and  called  into  existence  a  number  of  new 
business  institutions,  particularly  doggeries, 
groceries,  l)oarding-houses  and  supply  places, 
etc.  Everybody  made  money.  The  stores 
had  all  the  business  their  keepers  could  sat- 
isfactorily give  attention  to;  the  boarding- 
houses  were  literally  running  over,  and  Mose 
Harrell  declares  that  after  the  second  "  pay 
day,"  every  saloon-keeper  in  town  had  a  gold 
fob-chain;  an  evidence  that  both  bar-tender 
and  proprietor  are  raking  in  the  ducats  under 
a  fair  and  just  divide. 

Fights  at  fisticuffs,  and  arrangements 
with  "  shillalahs,"  were  the  favorite  past- 
time  and  fun  among  the  levee  hands,  but  as 
a  general  thing  they  resulted  in  nothing  more 
serious  than  disfigured  countenances,  or  the 
temporary  enlargement  of  the  phrenological 
bumps.  Only  a  single  riot,  having  a  fatal 
termination,  took  place  in  Cairo  during  the 
progress  of  these  improvements.  This  occurred 
during  a  "pay  day."  The  old  foundiy  was  used 
as  an  ofiice  by  the  contractors,  and  here  they 
paid  off  their  hands.  The  room  was  crowded 
with  laborers,  eager  for  settlement,  as  well  as 
those  who  had  furnished  supplies,  etc.  They 
were  so  crowded  and  clamorous,  that  it  was 
found  difiicult  for  the  clerks  to  transact  the 
business,      Mr.  Stephens  ordered  them  all  to 


leave  the  room.  Of  course  they  gave  no  heed 
to  his  order;  observing  this,  he  rushed  among 
them  with  a  bowie-knife,  and  commenced 
cutting  right  and  left,  utterly  regardless  of 
consequences.  An  ax  being  at  hand,  one  of  the 
assaulted  crowd  seized  it  and  seeing  that  life 
and  death  were  the  alternatives,  aimed  a 
blow  at  Stephens,  which  cleft  to  the  brain. 

The  work  upon  the  line  from  here  to  the 
north  part  of  Union  County  was  pushed 
vigorously  ahead,  with  the  forces  distributed 
at  all  the  points  where  the  heavy  work  was 
to  be  done. 

On  the  7th  day  of  August,  1855,  the  first 
train  of  cars  over  the  Illinois  Central  Rail- 
road reached  the  city  of  Cairo.  A  locomo- 
tive, under  the  charge  of  Joe  Courtway,  draw- 
ing a  half-dozen  platform  cars,  whereon  were 
seated  about  one  hundred  citizens  of  Jones- 
boro  and  intermediate  points,  formed  the 
train  and  passengers.  Beyond  Jonesboro 
the  road  was  not  finished,  but  the  work  was 
so  near  completion,  that  in  a  few  weeks  the 
trains  were  enabled  to  pass  over  the  entire 
main  line. 

On  the  1st  day  of  January,  1856,  the  first 
passenger  train,  on  schedule  time,  passed  over 
the  Central  road  from  Chicago  to  Cairo,  and 
a  large  delegation  of  leading  people  of  Chica- 
go were  the  passengers.  The  people  of  Cairo 
gave  them  a  hearty  reception,  and  literally 
Chicago  and  Cairo — the  two  extremes  of  the 
State,  and  the  two  best  located  cities  in  Illi- 
nois— shook  hands  and  kissed  in  mutual  love 
and  admiration.  The  Chicago  visitors  were 
royally  entertained  at  the  "Taylor  House," 
and  all  were  glorying  over  the  auspicious  event 
After  spending  the  day  in  shaking  hands  and 
looking  about  the  town,  they  were  entertained 
in  the  evening  by  two  large  and  separate 
balls  and  suppers,  at  which  speeches  were 
made,  toasts  drunk,  and  a  generally  happy 
and  hilarious  time  was  prolonged  to   the  end 


i 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


211 


of  the  visitors'  stay.  Manifestations  of  kin- 
dred feeling  over  the  completion  of  the  road 
were  to  be  seen  everywhere  along  the  route, 
the  people  correctly  believing  that  the  time 
marked  the  commencement  of  a  glorious  and 
more  prosperous  era  for  the  Prairie  State 
and  her  people. 

The  Chicago,  St.  Louis  &  New  Orleans 
Railroad,  or  what  was  better  known  as  the 
"Great  Jackson  Route,"  a  railroad  from  Cairo 
direct  to  New  Orleans,  was,  in  the  year 
1882,  consolidated  and  made  part  of  the  Illi- 
nois Central  Railroad,  and  is  now  the  South- 
ern Division  of  the  Illinois  Central  Railroad, 
a  continuous  line  from  Chicago  to  New  Or- 
leans. Trains  are  passed  over  the  river  at 
Cairo  by  the  transfer  boat,  H.  I.  McComb. 
So  complete  and  perfect  is  this  part  of  the 
work  pRrformed,  that  passengers  cross  the 
river  and  are  speeded  on  their  way  north  or 
south  often,  without  an  interruption  to  their 
slumbers. 

Cairo  &  St.  Louis  Railroad. — Originally, 
this  was  wholly  a  Cairo  enterprise,  and  it 
was  started  [under  very  favorable  auspices. 
The  charter  was  enacted  by  the  Legislature, 
February  16,  1865,  the  incorporators  being 
Sharon  Tyndale,  Isham  N.  Haynie,  Samuel 
Staats  Taylor,  John  Thomas,  William  H. 
Logan,  William  P.  Halliday  and  Tilman  B. 
Cantrell,  who,  by  the  terms  of  the  charter, 
were  "  vested  with  powers,  privileges  and 
immunities  which  are  or  may  be  necessary  to 
construct,  complete  and  operate  a  railroad, 
from  the  city  of  Cairo  to  any  point  opposite 
the  city  of  St.  Louis."  The  capital  stock 
authorized  was  $3,000,000,  and  which 
"  may  be  inci'eased  to  not  exceeding  $5,000,- 
000."  The  law  makes  Sharon  Tyndale, 
Isham  N.  Haynie,  Samuel  Staats  Taylor,  John 
Thomas,  William  H.  Logan,  William  P. 
Halliday  and  Tilman  B.  Cantrell  the  first 
Board    of  Directors,  and   requires   them   to 


elect  officers  of  the  corporation  from  their 
body.  Section  5  of  the  act  is  in  the  follow- 
ing words:  "  Nothing  contained  in  this  act, 
or  any  law  of  this  State,  shall  authoi'izo  said 
company  to  take,  for  the  uses  and  purposes 
of  the  company,  or  otherwise,  or  to  impair 
any  portion  of  the  levees,  or  embankment 
already  constructed  or  erected  by  the 
Trustees  of  the  Cairo  City  Property,  or  by 
any  person  or  corporation,  under  existing 
agreements  with  them,  except  by  the  consent 
of  said  Trustees  and  of  the  city  of  Cairo." 

This  charter  is  a  neat,  short,  compact, 
and  yet  comprehensive  document,  and  is  ad- 
mirably suited  for  the  purposes  for  which  it 
was  intended.  It  names  only  two  points — 
Cairo  and  some  point  opposite  St.  Louis.  As 
short  as  it  is,  it  grants  every  power  wanted, 
and  hampers  the  company  with  none  of  the 
usual  provisions  and  directions  and  un- 
necessary minutise  in  controlling  the  action 
of  the  company,  except  vSection  5,  which  we 
give  entire,  and  out  of  which  has  arisen  some 
complications  with  the  city  of  Cairo.  The 
municipalities  along  the  line  are  authorized 
to  donate  lands  and  subscribe  for  stock. 

S.  Staats  Taylor  was  elected  President  at 
the  meeting  for  organization  of  the  charter 
directors.  In  1874,  he  was  succeeded  by 
F.  E.  Cauda,  of  Chicago. 

The  municipalities  along  the  line,  from 
Cairo  to  Columbia,  in  Monroe  County,  voted 
$1,050,000  in  aid  of  the  enterprise,  and  the 
contract  to  construct  the  entire  ;line  was 
awarded  to  H.  R.  Payson  &  Co.,  of  Chicago. 
Work  was  commenced  in  1872,  at  the  St. 
Louis  end,  or  rather  at  East  Carondelet,  and 
under  many  difficulties,  pushed  to  comple- 
tion in  1874,  to  Murphysboro,  and  the  work 
stopped.  This  result  came  from  the  inability 
of  the  contracfx^rs  to  go  any  further,  and  they 
were  thus  crippled  by  the  municipalities 
latterly  refusing  to  pay  their  donations.     The 


ni 


HLSTOIIY  OF  CAIRO. 


contractors  had  invested  over  $1,000,000  of 
their  own  funds,  and  failing  to  get  the 
money  donated,  according  to  the  terms  of 
the  vote  of  the  people,  they  were  too  much 
crippled,  or  did  not  feel  like  risking  any 
more  expenditure  iu  the  enterprise.  The 
road,  so  far  as  built,  was  at  once  stocked  and 
operated,  being  run  from  East  Carondelet  to 
East  St.  Louis — a  distance  of  about  five 
miles — over  the  Conlogue  road.  From  the 
very  first,  it  was  a  financial  success,  as  a 
purely  local  road,  and  much  more  than  paid 
expenses.  It  tapped  the  very  finest  country 
lying  east  and  south  of  St.  Louis,  passing 
through  ihe  southwest  corner  of  St.  Clair, 
and  entering  Monroe,  and  through  the  center 
of  this  and  into  Randolph  and  Jackson  Coun- 
ties, and  ,'giving  all  this  rich  and  populous 
section  direct  and  easy  communication  with 
St.  Louis.  But  the  people  of  Cairo  could 
not  see  where  this  was  benefiting  them  any, 
and  communication  was  opened  with  the  com- 
pany with  a  view  of  extending  it,  as  the 
charter  specified,  to  Cairo;  and  Union 
County,  being  as  deeply  interested  as  Cairo, 
joined  in  ofifering  inducements  to  have  the 
work  completed.  Alexander  County  had  sub- 
scribed $100,000,  and  the  city  of  Cairo  a 
similar  amount;  Union  County  had  sub- 
scribed $100,000,  and  the  city  of  Jonesboro 
$50,000.  Alexander  County  and  the  city  of 
Cairo  paid  their  subscriptions  to  the  last  dol- 
lar, and  kept  their  faith;  Union  County  paid 
a  portion  of  hers,  and  Jonesboro  paid  one- 
half,  or  $25,000  of  her  subscription;  and  on 
March  1,  1875,  the  road  was  completed  from 
East  Carondelet  to  Cairo,  making  an  entire 
line  from  Cairo  to  East  St.  Louis.  We  may 
here  remark  that  Jonesboro,  after  getting 
the  road,  repudiated  the  remainder  of  her 
donation,  and  was  sued  upon  the  bonds,  and 
before  the  local  court  of  Union  County  easily 
got  a  judgment    acquitting  her  of    the  debt; 


but  the  case  was  removed  into  the  United 
States  Court,  and  recently  this  decision  sum- 
marily reversed,  and  the  probabilities  are  she 
will  have  to  pay  the  debt  with  the  accumu- 
lated interest.  It  was  a  case  of  voting  aid  by 
the  wholesale,  and,  except  Alexander  County 
and  Cairo,  repudiation  with  equal  facility 
and  complacency.  Our  State  constitution 
now  prohibits  the  people  giving  donations  to 
railroads.  It  should  never  have  permitted  it. 
It  is  vicious  legislation,  and  the  corruption 
of  the  people  and  banishing  all  sense  of 
honor  from  municipalities  starts  a  train  of 
descent  that,  in  the  end,  reaches  the  in- 
dividuals who  compose  the  corporate  bodies. 

The  contractors  had  entered  into  the  usual 
obligations,  namely,  to  take  the  donations, 
and  in  the  end  the  corporation  and  all  its  be- 
longings as  pay  for  building,  and  in  the  end 
became  the  sole  proprietors  of  the  road.  The 
complications  arising  from  the  failure  to  get 
the  donations,  as  mentioned,  deeply  involved 
the  road  in  debt,  and,  as  the  only  way  out  of 
it,  on  the  7th  of  December,  1877,  Mr.  H.  W. 
Smithers  was  appointed  Receiver  of  the  road, 
and  at  once  took  possession  and  operated  un- 
der the  protection  of  the  courts.  This,  it 
seems,  was  a  fortunate  appointment,  and 
under  his  management  he  repaired,  stocked 
and  fixed  the  line  in  good  running  order.  He 
constructed  depots,  and  in  East  St.  Louis 
built  a  round-house  with  seven  stalls,  ma- 
chine shops  and  spacious  freight  and  passen- 
ger depots.  He  made  of  it  a  very  good  line 
of  road,  whereas  when  he  took  charge  of  it, 
it  was  in  a  dilapidated  condition  from  one 
end  to  the  other. 

The  road  was  sold,  under  the  decree  of  the 
court,  in  January,  1882,  and  on  February  1, 
of  the  same  year,  was  re-organized,  with  the 
following  as  the  new  Board  of  Directors:  C. 
W.  Schaap,  W.  T.  Whitehouse,  S.  C.  Judd, 
L.  M.  Johnson,  E.  B.  Sheldon,  H.  B.  White- 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


213 


house,  J.  M.  Mills  and  E.  H.  Fishburn.  The 
present  Board  is  W.  F.  Whitehouse,  L.  M. 
Johnson,  Ex.  Norton,  Fred  Bross,  John  B. 
Lovington,  C.  W.  Schaap,  H.  B.  Whitehoiise, 
Jos i ah  H.  Horsey  and  S.  Corning  Judd. 
The  officers  of  the  road  consist  of  AV.  F. 
Whitehonse,  President;  L.  M.  Johnson,  Vice 
President;  Charles  Hamilton,  General  Sup- 
erintendent; S.  Corning  Judd,  Gen.  Sol.; 
William  Ritchie,  Secretary;  George  H. 
Smith,  General  Freight  and  Passenger 
Agent,  and  Lewis  Enos,  Auditor  and  Cash- 
ier. The  new  organization  at  once  set  about 
building  their  own  road  into  East  St.  Louis 
from  Carondelet,  and  this  was  completed  dur- 
ing the  present  year.  In  the  year  1881,  the 
road  "was  engaged  in  completing  its  line  into 
Cairo,  in  accordance  with  the  terms  of  its 
arrangements  to  build  on  the  strip  of  land 
of  the  Cairo  Trust  Pi'operty,  on  the  Missis- 
sippi side;  a  part  of  that  arrangement  being 
that,  for  this  privilege,  it  was  to  keep  in  re- 
pair and  raise  aud  strengthen  the  levee  run- 
ning along  the  Mississippi  River,  and  on  the 
south  of  the  city.  This  work  was  only  fairly 
commenced,  when  the  city  of  Cairo  went  into 
court,  and  prayed  an  injunction  to  prevent 
the  road  crossing  Washington  avenue. 
The  point  where  the  road  comes  in  contact 
with  this  avenue  is  some  distance  north  of 
the  north  levee,  and  where  neither  a  road, 
avenue  or  highway  exists,  except  on  the  city 
plat.  No  dray,  carriage,  buggy  or  dog- cart 
or  foot  passenger  will,  probably,  want  to 
use  that  particular  portion  of  Washington 
avenue  for  the  next  hundred  years.  The  in- 
junction was  granted,  prohibiting  the  road 
from  crossing  this  avenue,  and  Judge  Baker 
has  made  the  injunction  [perpetual.  The 
road  laade  the  best  temporary  arrangement 
it  could,  and  has  a  track  on  the  Mississippi 
levee,  and  in  this  way  is  enabled  to  reach  the 
Vnion  Depot.     These  complications  are  un- 


fortunate for  the  road,  as  it  practically  cuts 
it  out  of  a  permanent  terminus  here,  and 
prevents  it  making  those  contemplated  im- 
provements, as  well  as  making  any  solid  and 
advantageous  connecting  arrangements  with 
other  roads  from  Cairo  south.  It  practically 
cuts  off  its  Cairo  freight  business  from  the 
north.  And  one  item  of  very  great  impor- 
tance to  the  people  and  business  is,  that  this 
unfortunate  state  of  affairs  prevents  the  road 
shipping  to  this  market  the  Jackson  County 
coal,  that  is  so  much  needed  here  for  the 
manufactories  that  may  be  yet  built  in  Cairo, 
as  well  as  for  the  local  and  river  trade. 
Here  are  altogether  a  remarkable  state  of 
facts.  During  all  the  struggle  for  existence, 
the  city  extended  to  it  a  princely,  liberal 
hand,  and  it  was  the  people's  money  of  Cairo 
that  enabled  the  projectors  to  ever  build  the 
road.  After  it  was  built,  from  some  griev- 
ance not  visible  in  the  court  papers,  she 
turns  upon  and  badly  cripples  that  particular 
portion  of  the  road  in  which  the  town  is 
deeply  interested.  There  has  been  short- 
sighted management  somewhere.  The  man- 
agers of  the  road,  and  particularly  the  con- 
tractors, who  were  saved  from  hopeless 
banki'uptcy  by  the  action  of  Cairo,  when  the 
other  municipalities  were  repudiating  their 
donations,  must  have,  at  one  time,  felt  very 
kindly  to  Cairo,  and  the  S20(),000  put  in 
there  by  the  city  and  county,  certainly  could 
have  controlled  and  brought  here  the  ma- 
chine shops,  round-house  and  such  other  and 
valuable  improvements  as  the  road  has  now 
made  in  East  St.  Louis,  and  others  it  will  yet 
make.  In  the  law  the  city  triumphs,  but 
where  are  her  gains?  Look  at  the  results: 
The  road  has  no  reliable  entrance  into  Cairo. 
During  the  past  twelve  months,  there  were 
three  months  that  no  train  over  that  road 
came  into  Cairo;  yet  its  trains  ran  regularly 
into  East  St.  Louis,  and  came  down  to  Hodge' s 


214 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


Park,  a  few  miles  north  of  Cairo,  the 
road  all  the  time  doing  a  good  local  business, 
and  the  managers  showed  the  writer  hereof 
their  books  during  the  time  of  the  interrup- 
tion of  trains,  and  there  was  no  falling  off  in 
the  revenues  of  the  road.  That  left  Cairo  in 
the  condition  of  having  given  $200,000  to 
build  a  railroad  to  tap  the  country  in  her  im- 
mediate vicinity,  and  take  her  natural  trade 
away  from  her  very  door,  and  carry  all  to  St. 
Louis — a  species  of  commercial  suicide,  as 
the  farmers  and  business  men  along  the  line, 
from  Bodge' 8  Park  to  St.  Louis,  were  cut  off 
from  Cairo  as  completely  as  if  the  town  was 
in  the  moon,  and  the  doors  to  St.  Louis 
thrown  open  to  them.  A  similar  policy  on 
the  other  roads  would  soon  sow  the  streets  of 
the  town  with  cockle  and  dog- fennel,  to 
flourish  in  unmolested  glory.  The  city  gave 
its  best  sti'eet  to  another  road,  entirely 
through  the  main  and  business  part  of  the 
town,  where  it  now  runs  its  trains  to  the 
great  distress  of  the  people,  and  at  the  same 
time  enjoins  the  Cairo  &St.  Louis  road  from 
crossing  Washington  avenue  at  a  place  in  the 
swamps  north  of  the  city  proper,  where  that 
highway,  probably,  will  never  be  utilized, 
except  by  ducks  and  frogs,  or,  in  very  dry 
seasons,  the  "  lone  fisherman." 

The  Cairo  &  St.L  ouis  Railroad  has  no  con- 
necting interests  here  with  any  other  railroad. 
It  is  now  a  purely  local  St.  Louis  'road, 
bringing  little  or  nothing  to  Cairo,  and  tak- 
ing as  little  away.  A  talk  with  the  managers 
will  at  once  convince  yovithat  they  feel  little 
if  any  interest  in  the  town.  When  it  is  so 
they  can,  without  any  inconvenience,  they 
run  their  trains  into  the  place;  when  they 
cannot  do  this  they  don't  care.  At  the  St. 
Louis  end,  they  have  running  connection  with 
the  Toledo  Narrow-Gauge  Railroad;  $200,- 
000  of  the  people's  money  has  gone  into  the 
enterprise,  and  now  the  city  and  the  road  are 


like  the  old  fellow,  when  he  announced 
"  Betsy  and  I  are  out."  They  rush  into  law, 
and  the  outcome  is  a  triumph  for  the  city, 
but  it.  is  somewhat  like  the  victory  of  the 
wife,  who  has  her  husband  fined  for  whip- 
ping her,  and  while  he  enjoys  himself  in  jail, 
she  washes  to  raise  the  money  to  pay  his 
fine.  The  lion  was  taking  a  drink  in  the 
stream,  and  some  distance  below  the  lamb 
was  crossing.  The  lion  straightway  killed 
the  lamb  for  muddying  the  waters  up  where  he 
was  drinking.  The  managers  profess  pro- 
found ignorance  of  why  Cairo  should  turn 
upon  and  rend  her  own  offspring.  The  peo- 
ple of  Cairo  generally  profess  the  same  ig- 
norance, and  we  know  they  individually  feel 
kindly  toward  the  road.  They  realize  that  it 
should  be,  and  naturally  is,  one  of  the  most 
valuable  lines  that  came  into  Cairo,  and  they 
regret  these  unfortunate  circumstances  that 
have  nearly  neutralized  its  good  effects  upon 
the  town.  If  there  was  any  serious  question  to 
form  the  bone  of  contention,  it  would  be 
altogether  different,  and  then  the  war  might 
go  on,  and  neither  the  road  nor  the  people 
would  grumble.  True,  people  here  sometimes 
shake  their  heads,  and  say,  look  at  our 
many  great  railroads  that  add  their  im- 
mense values  to  the  natural  lines  of  com- 
merce and  Cairo,  and  yet  there  is  no  suffi- 
cient advance  in  the  city's  march  forward  to 
keep  pace  with  these  encouraging  signs.  On 
the  surface,  there  are  no  reasons  for  this  state 
of  affairs,  and  yet  a  look  below — where  the 
real  facts  lie — might  reveal  a  state  of  'affairs 
that  would  make  all  plain  enough. 

But  these  matters  will  soon  be  adjusted; 
propositions,  we  are  glad  to  learn,  are  now 
passing,  looking  to  a  full  settlement,  and  it 
is  to  be  hoped  they  will  be  consummated  at 
an  early  day,  and  the  road  and  the  city  will 
be  just  and  profitable  to  each  other. 

Cairo  Short  Line. — This  is  another  Cairo  & 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


2  IS 


St.  Louis  Railroad.  It  was  projected  and  built 
originally  as  a  southern  line  for  the  Indian- 
apolis &  St.  Louis  Railroad,  and  was  built 
from  East  St.  Louis  to  Duquoin,  when  it 
was  purchased  and  became  a  part  of  the  Illi- 
nois Central  Railroad.  It  runs  upon  the 
Central  to  Duquoin,  and  there  branches  off 
to  St.  Louis.  It  is  really  the  Illinois  Cen- 
tral Railroad  from  Cairo  to  St.  Louis,  making 
the  second  direct  St.  Louis  &  Cairo  Railroad. 

The  Wabash  was  originally  chartered  as  the 
Cairo  &  Vincennes  Raih'oad,  the  incorpora- 
tion bearing  date  March  6,  1867.  The  incor- 
porators were  Green  B.  Raum,  D.  Hiu*d,  N. 
R.  Casey,  AV.  P.  Halliday,  J.  B.  Chasman. 
A.  J.  Kuykendall,  John  W.  Mitchell,  S. 
Staats  Taylor,  W.  R.  Wilkinson,  John  il. 
Crebbs,  Walter  L.  Mayo,  Robert  Mick,  Samuel 
Hess,  George  Mertz,  V,  Rathbone,  D.  T. 
Linegar,  Aaron  Shaw,  James  Tackney,  W. 
W.  McDowell,  Isaac  B.  Watts  and  Isham  N. 
Haynie.  They  were  authorized  to  construct 
a  railroad  from  the  city  of  Cairo,  by  the  way 
of  Mound  City,  to  some  point  on  or  near  the 
line  between  Illinois-  and  Indiana,  at  or  near 
Vincennes.  Donations  were  here  liberally 
voted,  and  Gen.  Burnside  became  the  gen- 
eral contractor,  and  represented  fully  the 
interests  of  the  capitalists. 

In  October,  1881,  it  was  consolidated,  and 
became  a  part  of  the  Wabash  system  of  rail- 
roads, in  which  management  it  is  now  con- 
ducted. On  the  10th  December,  1872,  the 
road  was  completed  from  Vincennes  to  Cairo, 
and  a  through  passenger  train  arrived  in 
Cairo,  bringing  a  lai-ge  delegation  of  prom- 
inent citizens,  among  whom  was  Gen.  Burn- 
side,  who  was  the  chief  officer  and  builder  of 
the  road.  The  visitors  were  entertained 
royally,  and  banqueted  in  the  evening. 

The  original  contractors  for  the  entire  line 
were  Dodge,  Lord  k  Co.  The  city  of  Cairo 
and  the  county  of   Alexander  had  each   sub- 


scribed and  taken  S100,CK)0  of  stock  in  the 
road,  paying  therefor  in  their  bonds.  Finan- 
cial diflSculties  of  the  company  compelled 
the  contractors  to  stop  work  in  1869,  and 
this  stoppage  continued  until  1871,  when 
Winslow  <fc  Wilson  contracted  for.  and  com- 
pleted the  work  of  construction.  After  the 
completion  of  the  road,  Messrs.  A.  B.  Safford 
and  Mr.  Morris  were  appointed  Receivers, 
and  they  were  afterward  succeeded  by  Messrs. 
Morgan  &  Tracey,  who  continued  in  control 
of  its  destinies  to  the  time  it  passed  into  the 
Wabash  system  of  railroads. 

Mobile  <&  Ohio  Railroad. — This  road  was  in 
contemplation  as  a  line  from  Cairo  to  Mo- 
bile, as  an  extension,  in  fact,  of  the  Illinois 
Central  Railroad.  In  accordance  with  the 
wise  provisions  of  Congress,  work  was  com- 
menced at  the  Mobile  end  of  the  road,  and 
the  work  completed  to  Columbus,  Ky,  and  a 
transfer  boat  used  in  connection  with  the 
trains  between  this  point  and  Cairo.  The 
war  coming  on,  not  only  the  work  of  com- 
pleting the  road  to  Cairo  was  stopped,  but  it 
soon  Ceased  to  be  a  road  at  all,  as  portions  of 
it  were  in  the  hands  of  the  Union  forces,  and 
parts  in  the  hands  of  the  rebels.  The  i-ails 
were  torn  up,  carried  away,  and  often  heated 
and  bent  out  of  all  shape.  The  rolling  stock 
was  destroyed,  as  well  as  the  most  of  the 
station  houses,  buildings  and  shops.  After 
the  war  was  over,  and  the  people  of  the 
South  had  again  begun  the  work  of  recover- 
ing their  lost  fortunes,  the  enterprise  was 
taken  hold  of  by  captalists,  and  the  work  of 
rebuilding  the  line  and  extending  the  road 
on  to  Cairo  was  pressed  to  completion. 

The  Texas  d:  St.  Louis  Railroad  is  des- 
tined some  day  to  become  one  of  the  most 
important  and  valuable  of  all  the  roads  lead- 
ing into  Cairo.  It  will  be,  when  completed, 
a  direct  and  continuous  line  from  Cairo  to 
the  Ci*y  of  Mexico. 


216 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


The  Texas  &  St.  Louis  Bail  way  Company 
have  recently  concluded  passenger  and 
freight  traffic  aiTangements  with  the  Illinois 
Central  Kailroad  Company,  which  is  to  exist 
for  a  period  of  fifty  years,  the  essence  of 
which  is  that  the  Illinios  Central  is  to  take 
complete  control  of  the  northern,  western 
and  eastern  passenger  and  freight  business 
of  the  Texas  &  St.  Louis,  and  vice  versa  the 
trade  of  the  Illinois  Central,  as  far  as 
it  pertains  to  the  country  traversed  by  this 
new  road.  The  Texas  &  St.  Louis  is  part 
of  a  system  of  railway  which  is  to  run  direct 
from  Cairo  to  the  City  of  Mexico,  and  em- 
braces a  distance  of  2,000  miles;  600  miles 
of'  the  system  is  already  in  operation,  and  it 
is  said  by  those  who  have  made  a  tour  of  in- 
spection, that  it  is  as  finely  built  and 
equipped  a  road  as  there  is  in  the  United 
States.  It  has  been  built  by  foreign  capital, 
not  to  sell,  but  as  a  permanent  investment, 
and  therefore  the  elegant  road  and  magnificent 
equipage.  The  inclines,  for  transfer  of  cars 
from  Bird's  Point  to  Cairo,  are  completed, 
and  a  first-class  transfer  boat  is  now  being 
operated.  The  business  for  St.  Louis  will 
be  done  over  the  Cairo  &  St.  Louis  Short 
Line.  The  road  bearing  the  name  of  the 
Texas  &  St.  Louis  will  open  up  a  vast,  rich 
country  to  the  trade  of  Cairo,  which  has  had 
heretofore  little  or  no  outlnt,  and  its  business 
will,  doubtless,  render  it  a  marvel  in  point  of 
financial  success.  The  road  runs  direct  from 
Bird's  Point,  opposite  Cairo,  to  Texarkana, 
thence  to  Waco,  thence  to  Gatesville,  and 
thence  to  the  Rio  Grande,  connecting  there 
with  the  Mexican  Central.  Maj.  G.  B.  Hib- 
bard,  chief  contractor,  with  headquartei-s  at 
Cairo,  is  pushing  the  work  with  all  possible 
speed,  and  he  confidently  believes  the  entire 
2,000  miles  will  be  completed  and  in  success- 
ful operation  within  two  years. 

The   Iron   Mountain  Railroad  is    now    a 


regular  Cairo  railroad,  by  an  extension  from 
Charleston,  Mo.,  to  Bird's  Point,  giving  the 
town  an  additional  highway  to  St.  Louis  and 
the  South.  This  is  one  of  the  valuable  Mis- 
souri railroads,  and  was  constructed  and 
operated  for  years  with  the  idea  that  it  could 
afford  to  pass  within  a  few  miles  of  Cairo 
and  ignore  its  existence.  But  time,  and  the 
growth  and  trade  of  the  place,  eventually 
compelled  them  to  build  into  Cairo  and  estab- 
lish a  transfer  boat,  and  thus  reach  some  of 
the  rich  harvest  that  awaited  their  coming. 

Here  are  eight  completed  first-class  rail- 
roads into  Cairo,  and  the  anticipations  of  the 
next  few  months  are  that  the  Chesapeake  & 
Ohio  Railroad  will  be  added  to  the  Cairo  list 
of  roads,  and  thus  form  a  direct  line  from 
the  city  to  the  Atlantic  Ocean  at  Norfolk,  Ya., 
making,  by  many  miles,  the  most  direct  road 
to  the  seashore.  The  value  of  this  line,  if 
carried  out  as  now  contemplated,  would  be 
incalculable  to  the  whole  Mississippi  Yalley. 
It  would  compel  the  building  of  a  direct  rail- 
road from  Cairo  West  to  the  Pacific  coast,  or 
at  least  to  a  connection  with  the  Southern 
Pacific  Railroad.  The  Cincinnati  &  Cairo 
Narrow  Gauge  Railroad  is  now  in  course  of 
construction.  The  road  will  run  direct  from 
Cincinnati  to  Cairo,  passing  entirely  across 
the  southern  portion  of  Indiana,  and  have  a 
length  of  220  miles.  This  will  bring  a  rich 
portion  of  the  country  to  the  Cairo  trade. 

The  Toledo  &  St.  Louis  Narrow  Gauge  is 
now  completed,  and  the  construction  of  a 
branch  from  some  point  in  Shelby  or  Edgar 
County  to  Cairo  is  being  rapidly  pushed  to 
completion.  This  important  link  is  essential 
to  the  filling  out  of  the  gi'eat  net-work  of  nar- 
row gauge  roads  that  are  now  being  completed 
from    New  York  City  to  the  City  of  Mexico. 

Thus  may  we  not  now  hope  that  the 
commanding  commercial  position  of  Cairo 
will  yet  compel  the   making  here  of    a  great 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


217 


railroad  and  transportation  and  travel  center, 
that  nature  evidently  intended  from  the  first 
it  should  become.     At  the  least,  here  is  light 


and  hope  ahead  for  the  people  who  have 
toiled  and  struggled  and  hoped  so  long  and 
so  faithfully. 


CHAPTER    XL 


CONCLUSION—THE  FUTURE    OF 


THE  CITY  CONSIDERED— HER   PRESENT 
PRESENT  CITY  OFFICIALS,  ETC. 


STATUS  AND  GROWTH— 


"While  others  may  think  of  the  times  that  are  gone, 
They  are  bent  by  the  years  that  are  fast  rolling  on. " 

A  BRIEF  retrospect,  and  a  short  sum- 
ming-up of  Cairo  as  it  is,  will  con- 
chide  oxar  account  of  its  history;  and  in  this 
retrospect  we  much  wish  we  could  answer, 
to  oiu-  own  satisfaction,  the'  oft-repeated 
question  that  the  people  have  propounded  to 
us  in  regard  to  the  future  of  the  city:  "What 
is  the  city's  outlook?"  No  town  site  has 
been  more  especially  favored  by  natiu'e,  and 
few,  if  any,  have  been  so  sorely  afflicted  with 
untoward  circumstances.  And  often  the  most 
heroic  exertions  in  her  behalf,  by  some  of 
her  people  here,  have  re-acted  to  the  apparent 
real  injury  to  the  prospects  of  the  place. 
Her  foundation  was  laid  in  a  Soixth  Sea  Bub- 
ble, by  a  visionary,  impracticable,  baulcrupt 
corporation  that  gathered  the  first  people 
here  rapidly,  and  then  tumbled  over  their 
own  air  castles  and  left  the  people  in  distress 
and  despair.  In  a  night,  almost,  a  thrifty 
young  city  of  2,000  liusy,  bustling  people 
was  turned  into  an  idle  mob,  wandering  about 
the  Ohio  levee,  and  ready — and  did  attempt 
— to  take  by  force  the  fii'st  steamer  that 
touched  at  the  wharf,  and  appropriate  it  to 
the  purpose  of  taking  the  many  workers,  who 
bad  been  thrown  out  of  employment,  away 
from  the  place.  The  officers  only  saved  their 
property  by  hastily  drawing  out  into  the 
stream.     Then,  after  the    levees  were   built, 


the  waters  came  and  washed  them  away,  and 
drowned  out  the  town,  and  gloom  and  desola- 
tion marked  its  tracks.  But  above,  and  perhaps 
far  greater  causes  of  evils  that  have  beset  Cairo 
all  its  life,  and  of  which  it  is  not  yet  wholly 
exempt,  have  been  the  corporate  and  private 
monopolies  that  have  sucked  out  much  of  that 
vitality  that  it  so  much  needed  for  its  own 
development.  It  altogether  impresses  us 
with  the  fact,  that  the  remarkable  natm-al 
wealth  of  advantages  of  the  place  have  been 
among  its  misfortunes.  As  in  some  spots  of 
the  globe  the  wealth  of  soil,  climate  and 
vegetable  and  animal  growth  are  so  rank  and 
profuse,  that  they  overcome  the  energies  of 
man,  and  remain  a  wilderness,  the  home  of 
an  u.nparalleled  growth  of  vegetation,  filled 
with  ferocious  beasts  and  poisonous  insects. 
For  instance,  the  wonderful  land  of  Brazil, 
in  South  America,  a  scope  of  country  larger 
than  the  United  States,  and  the  richest  in 
climate  and  soil  in  the  world,  so  rich  and  so 
prolific,  that  it  defies  the  puny  arm  of  man 
to  conquer  and  become  the  master  of  its  riot 
of  power  in  productiveness  of  vegetable  and 
animal  life.  From  the  very  force  and  power  of 
its  abundance,  it  is  made  as  uninhabitable  as 
are  the  arid  wastes  of  the  sandy  desert.  In 
looking  over  the  short  life  of  the  city,  we 
cannot  but  be  impressed  with  the  fact  that 
it  has  been  one  of  its  misfortunes  in  present- 
ing so  many  natural  advantages  as  to  temj)t 


218 


HISTORY   OF   CAIRO. 


the  schemers  and  the  unsci'upulous  to  com- 
bine and  attempt  to  gather  in  to  their  own, 
benefits  and  advantages  that  were  placed 
here  by  nature  in  quantities  sufficient  for  al- 
most a  young  empire.  Great  cities  in  this 
country  have  not  been  built  by  corporations, 
backed  ;by  stringent  or  powerful  laws  of  the 
State  Legislatiu'es.  They  need  no  combina- 
tions, companies  or  heavy  capitalists  in  their 
young  and  growing  days.  It  wants  only  the 
free  play  of  individual  effort,  where  each 
business  man  may  see  a  hope  to  realize 
wealth  and  position  by  his  efforts,  and  to  know 
that  in  such  a  struggle  he  will  not  be 
crushed  by  a  public  or  private  monopoly. 
Hence,  Cairo's  first  calamity  was  a  charter 
granted  for  its  building.  Cairo,  and  its  past 
histor}^,  and  its  destiny,  are  singular  subjects 
to  contemplate.  There  is,  looking  from  one 
standpoint,  no  reason  why  there  should  not 
be  as  many  people  and  as  much  wealth  here 
as  there  is  in  Chicago,  and,  tiu'ning  to  the 
other  side  of  the  picture,  the  wonder  arises 
why  the  10,000  people  who  are  now  here 
ever  came,  or  stayed  when  they  did  come. 
It  has  demonstrated  what  many  wise  heads 
believed  impossible,  namely,  the  erection  of 
levees  and  embankments  that  would  protect, 
not  only  against  the  "highest  known  waters," 
but  against  the  unparalleled  floods  of  1882  and 
1883.  It  has  been  the  only  dry  land  along 
the  river,  but  it  was  an  island  in  the  waste 
of  waters,  and  the  overflow  of  the  present  year 
has  demonstrated  that  it  is  not  alone  enough 
to  keep  the  water  out  of  the  city,  but  the 
merchants  and  business  men  are  now  realiz- 
ing that  they  must  keep  up  communication 
with  the  agricultural  communities  surround- 
ing the  place,  or  business  will  stagnate,  and 
hard  times  will  come.  Again,  the  levees 
have  always  presented  vexatioiis  questions, 
that  were  injurious  because  unsettled  ques- 
tions.   People  have  divided  upon  the  policies 


to  be  pursued  in  reference  to  grading  up  the 
town  and  the  levees,  and  continued  that  un- 
settled state  of  the  public  mind  that  has 
caused  injury  to  the  permanent  gi'owth  and 
especially  the  manufacturing  interests  of  the 
place.  A  world-wide  misapprehension  and 
a  common  stock-slander  on  the  extreme  South- 
ern Illinois,  has  been  in  regard  to  the 
healthfulness  of  this  section  of  the  country. 
To  the  citizens,  there  is  the  patent  fact  that 
there  is  no  healthier  place  in  the  Mississippi 
Valley.  The  general  appearance  of  the  peo- 
ple, the  overflow  of  the  school  rooms  with 
ruddy,  chubby-faced,  happy  children,  tell  the 
whole  story  as  to  the  health  of  the  people; 
but  the  traveler  sees  a  pond  of  sipe  water, 
the  low,  swampy  land  about  the  city,  and. 
being  impressed  before  he  comes  with  the 
common  slander,  imagines  he  needs  a  medi- 
cated sponge  tied  over  his  nose  in  order 
that  he  may  not  breathe  in  death  in  passing 
hurriedly  through  the  place,  and  'he  writes 
a  letter  to  the  great  city  paper,  telling  the 
world  of  the  dangers  that  he  passed,  and  the 
providential  escape  he  made,  in  passing 
through  Southern  Illinois.  It  is  immaterial 
what  the  health  statistics  may  show,  these 
the  affrighted  slanderer  will  not  see,  particu- 
larly as  they  give  the  He  direct  to  his  manu- 
factured stories;  but  if  they  did,  upon  the 
contrary,  show  a  great  death  rate  here,  then, 
indeed,  would  these  tables  be  quoted  and  re- 
quoted  the  year  round,  in  great,  fat  display 
type,  that  all  the  world  might  see, 

Cairo  was  the  natural  crossing  point  for 
the  immigration  and  travel  east  and  west, 
north  and  south.  This  point  of  crossing,  in 
the  center  of  the  continent,  was,  by  the  war 
and  fother  untoward  circumstances,  moved 
300  miles  north  of  this,  and  the  south  half 
of  the  Union,  for  commercial  purposes,  was 
wiped  from  the  map  of  the  country  for  a  dec- 
ade or  more,  and  the  railroads  built,    and  the 


HISTORY  OF  CAIRO. 


219 


cities  sprung  up,    and  commerce  adjusted  to 
this  northern  line,  until  it  may  now  be  for- 
ever impossible  to  change  it.     The  very  fact 
that  Illinois  penetrated,  from   the   northern 
lakes,  like  a  wedge,  down  into  the  Southern 
States,  forming,  as  Daniel  P.  Cook  argued, 
the   keystone  of   the  great   union  of    States, 
has  been  turned,  in  the  unfortunate  quarrels 
of  the  late  war,  into  a  base  whereon  to  place 
this  end  of  the  State  in  the  same  categoiy, 
for  the  unholy  sneers  and  slanders  that  were 
heaped  upon  all  the   South,  and   aided  much 
in  spreading  her  discredit  world-wide.   Then, 
the  city  is    confronted  with   such   questions 
as,   Will  the   rivers  continue  to    mark    the 
flood  line  higher  and  higher,  as  has  been  the 
case  the  past  two  years?  If  so,  indeed,  then, 
what  of  the  morrow?     It  is  urged  that  the 
constant    improvement    in    draining   that    is 
going  on  north  of  us — tile  draining,   espe- 
cially— that  in  many  places    is   becoming  so 
universal,  and  to  these  are  remembered  the 
fact  that  the  forests  are  being  cleared  away, 
and  that    these    facts,    added    to    the    levees 
thrown  up  at  many  places   as  railroad  beds, 
must   cause   the   waters  to   continue  to   rise 
higher  and  higher,  until,  in  the  end,  there 
will  be  no   such  things  as    fencing  them  out 
with   embankments.      There  were  features  of 
the  last  flood  that   fail  to    bear  out  this  rea- 
soning.    The  waters  at  Cincinnati  were  five 
feet  higher  than  ever   known;  at  Cairo,  only 
a  few  inches.     Then,  the   hope  and  purpose 
of  the  river  improvement  now  going  on  is  to 
deepen   the  bed  of    the    river   by  naiTOwiug 
the  current  in  the  shallow  and  wide  places  in 
the  river,  and    increasing  the   current  (it  is 
claimed,  upon  experiments,  that  this  deepen- 
ing can  be  made  to  an    average   of   twelve 
feet),  and  this  increase  of  current  and  depth 
of  the  river's  bed  must   lower  materially  the 
flood  line  of  any  high  waters  that  may  come 
down  the  rivers.     The  unequaled  advantages 


of  Cairo  for  nearly  all  our  manufacturing 
industries  are  beginning  to  be  understood 
throughout  the  country.  The  accessions  to 
the  city  in  important  factories  in  the 
past  few  years,  show  that  shrewd  men  see 
here  the  best  place  in  all  the  West  to  get  the 
raw  material  and  the  machinery  for  its  fash- 
ioning together,  and  then,  when  the  article 
is  made,  with  the  easiest  and  best  outlets 
to  the  markets  of  the  world — transportation 
that  can  never  combine  or  pool  its  business, 
to  the  detriment  of  the  manufacturer  or  mer- 
chant. Then,  why  are  not  all  the  great 
manufacturing  industries  of  the  country  rep- 
resented here,  crowding  the  levees  of  the 
Ohio  and  Mississippi  with  their  "flaming  forges 
and  flying  spindles,"  and  the  roar  and  hum 
of  machinery,  and  "  the  music  of  the  hammer 
and  the  saw?"  In  shoi't,  why  is  not  Cairo 
the  great  manufacturing  city  of  America? 
Nature  has  offered  illimitable  bounties  to 
bring  them  here;  why  have  they  not  come? 
Perhaps  each  one  can  tigm-e  out  for  himself 
the  why  and  the  wherefore  of  this.  We 
believe  the  reasons  to  be  partially  artificial 
(these  might  be  removed),  and  partly  natural. 
One  thing  we  may  truthfully  say  of  Cairo 
and  her  surrounding  countiy:  The  locality 
has  never  been  advertised  to  the  world.  A 
tithe  of  the  money  wasted  from  time  to  time, 
if  it  had  been  judiciously  invested  in  adver- 
tising the  superior  advantages  of  this  sec- 
tion of  country,  would  have  brought  many 
more  people  here  than  are  now  citizens. 
Men  sit  ai'ound,  and  croak  about  capital  com- 
ing here.  This  is  not  the  way  cities  are 
built;  but  it  is  the  men  starting  in  trade  and 
commerce;  men  who  are  possessed,  often, 
of  small  means  and  great  activity  and  nerve, 
that  come  to  a  new  place,  perhaps  commence 
business  in  a  tent  or  shanty;  that  push 
along,  and  eventually  erect  great  business 
houses,  and   great   factories,  and   build  rich 


220 


HISTORY  OF   CAIRO. 


cities.  The  capitalists  will  only  follow 
where  these  men  have  shown  the  way. 
We  therefore  think  it  probably  an  unwise  act 
in  the  city  authorities  making  so  large  a  dis- 
trict of  the  city  as  the  fire  limits  for  build- 
ing purposes.  It  is  very  doubtful  wisdom  to 
obstruct  the  man  of  small  means  from  build- 
ing. A  town  full  of  cheap  houses  is  one  of 
the  best  indications  of  coming  prosperity.  If 
they  biu-n,  they  will  take  their  insiirance 
money,  and  only  build  a  better  grade  of 
houses  in  the  place  of  the  old.  The  man 
wants  all  his  money  in  his  business,  and  it  is 
only  when  he  feels  comparatively  rich  will 
he  build  fine  or  extensive  establishments. 
To  sum  up  the  evils  that  have  beset  Cairo, 
we  need  only  name  the  floods  and  fire,  epi- 
demics and  monopolies.  These  are  her  main 
grievances.  To  these  may  be  added  some 
mistaken  legislation  on  the  part  of  the  city 
authorities,  and  particularly  the  grave  mis- 
take of  keeping  the  filling  and  grading  ques- 
tions always  open,  and  in  an  unsettled  con- 
dition. This  deters  men  from  building,  as 
well  as  others  from  coming  here  and  putting 
up  extensive  manufacturing  and  commercial 
establishments. 

It  is  better  to  settle  it  in  some  way,  and  let 
that  be  a  permanent  settlement. 

Cairo  has  passed  her  greatest  trials,  and 
whilst  her  triumph,  even,  has  left  her  behind 
in  the  race  with  other  cities  that  possessed 
hardly  a  tithe  of  her  natiiral  advantages,  yet 


her  prospects  just  now  are  far  better  than 
they  have  ever  been  before.  She  has  a  per- 
manent population:  they  are  creating  the 
wealth  that  some  day  will  do  much  toward 
building  here  a  city.  The  wholesale  trade 
of  the  merchants  has  sprung  up  in  a  very 
few  years,  and  if  good  wagon  roads  are  made 
to  all  the  surrounding  country,  and  kept  up, 
a  few  years  will  mark  a  splendid  and  solid 
advancement  of  the  town. 

The  social  and  intellectual  activity  of  the 
community  in  recent  years,  is  well  indicated 
by  a  public  free  library,  that  is  now  prepar- 
ing a  permanent  and  beautiful  home  for 
itself,  and  the  two  book  and  news  stores  of 
the  city  that  are  so  largely  patronized  by 
the  people,  and  the  elegant  and  spacious 
Government  Post  Ofiice  and  Custom  House. 

The  present  city  officials  are  Thomas 
W.  Halliday,  Mayor;  Denis  J.  Foley,  City 
Clerk;  Charles,  F.  Nellis,  Treasurer;  L.  H. 
Myers,  Marshal ;  W.  B.  Gilbert,  Corporation 
Counsel ;  Wil  Ham  E.  Hendricks,  City  Attorney ; 
M.  J.  Howley,  City  Comptroller;  A.  Comings, 
Police  Magistrate.  Aldermen— First  Ward, 
William  McHale  and  Hemy  Walker  ;  Second 
Ward,  Jesse  Hinckle,  C.  N.  Hughes;  Third 
Ward,  B.  F.  Blake,  E.  A.  Smith;  Foui-th 
Ward,  C.  A.  Patier,  A.  Swoboda;  Fifth 
Ward,  Charles  Lancaster,  Henry  Stout; 
Street  Superintendent,  Nicholas  Devore;  As- 
sistant Chief  of  Fire  Department,  Joseph 
Steagala. 


PAET  II. 


HISTORY  OF  UION"  COUNTY, 


MM 


wm 


\l, 


■/« 


^      ? 


aa^^ 


PART  II. 


History  of  Union  County, 


BY    H.    C.    BRADSBY. 


CHAPTER    I, 


INTRODUCTION— GEOLOGY— IMPORTANCE   OF   EDUCATING   THE   PEOPLE   ON   THIS   SUBJECT— THE 
LIMESTONE   DISTRICT  OF  ILLINOIS— ECONOMICAL   GEOLOGY   OF  UNION,  ALEXANDER 
AND  PULASKI  COUNTIES— MEDICAL  SPRINGS,  BUILDING  MATERIAL,  SOIL, 
ETC.— WONDERFUL   WEALTH    OF   NATURE'S    BOUNTIES— TOPOG- 
RAPHY  AND   CLIMATE   OF   THIS   REGION,  I:TC. 


History  is  philosophy  teaching  bj'  example. 

THIS  and  the  two  succeeding  chapters 
include  the  district  composed  of  Union, 
Alexander  and  Pulaski  Counties.  The  whole 
was  once  Union  County,  and  the  first  three 
chapters  bring  the  history  down  to  the  for- 
mation of  Alexander  County. 

For  school  j)urposes — for  the  purpose  of 
giving  the  people  a  most  important  education 
in  the  practical  life  interests — there  is  no 
question  of  such  deep  interest  as  the  geolog- 
ical history  of  that  particular  portion  of  the 
country  in  which  they  make  their  homes. 
The  peojDle  of  Southern  Illinois  are  an  agri- 
cialtural  one  in  their  pursuits.  Their  first 
care  is  the  soil  and  climate,  and  it  is  here 
they  may  find  an  almost  inexhaiistible  fund 
of  knowledge,  that  will  ever  put  money  in 
their  purses.  All  mankind  are  deeply  in- 
terested in  the  soil.  From  here  comes  all 
life,  all  beauty,  pleasure,  wealth  and  enjoy- 
ment    Of  itself,  it   may  not  be  a  beautiful 


thing,  but  from  it  comes  the  fragrant  fiower, 
the  golden  fields,  the  sweet  blush  of  the 
maiden's  cheek,  the  flash  of  the  lustrous  eye 
that  is  more  powerful  to  subdue  the  heart  of 
obdurate  man  tlian  an  army  with  banners. 
From  here  comes  the  great  and  rich  cities 
whose  towers  and  temples  and  minarets  kiss 
the  early  morning  sun,  and  whose  ships,  with 
their  precious  cai'goes,  fleck  every  sea.  In 
short,  it  is  the  nom'ishing  mother  whence 
comes  oui'  high  civilization — the  wealth  of 
nations,  the  joys  and  exalted  pleasures  of 
life.  Hence,  the  corner-stone  upon  which  all 
of  life  rests  is  the  farmer,  who  tickles  the 
earth  and  it  laughs  with  tbe  rich  harvests 
that  so  bountifully  bless  mankind.  Who, 
then,  should  be  so  versed  in  the  knowledge 
of  the  soil  as  the  farmer?  What  other  infor- 
mation can  be  so  valuable  to  him  as  the  mas- 
tery of  the  science  of  the  geology,  at  least  that 
much  of  it  as  applies  to  that  part  of  the  earth 
where  he  h'  t  cast  his  fortunes  and  cultivates 

13 


226 


HISTOKY  OF  UNIOK  COUNTY. 


the  soil.  We  talk  of  educating  the  farmer, 
and  ordinarily  this  means  to  send  yom'  boys 
to  college,  to  acquire  what  is  termed  a  class- 
ical education,  and  they  come,  perhaps,  as 
graduates,  as  incapable  of  telling  the  geolog- 
ical story  of  the  father's  farna  as  is  the 
veriest  bumpkin  who  can  neither  read  nor 
write.  How  much  more  of  practical  value  it 
would  have  been  to  the  young  man  had  he 
never  looked  into  the  classics,  and  instead 
thereof  had  taken  a  few  practical  lessons  in 
the  local  geology  that  would  have  told  him 
the  story  of  the  soil  around  him,  and  enabled 
him  to  comprehend  how  it  was  formed,  its 
different  qualities  and  from  whence  it  came, 
and  its  constituent  elements.  The  farmer 
grows  to  be  an  old  man,  and  he  will  tell  you 
that  he  has  learned  to  be  a  good  farmer  only 
by  a  long  life  of  laborious  experiments,  and 
if  you  should  tell  him  that  these  experiments 
had  made  him  a  scientific  farmer,  he  would 
look  with  a  good  deal  of  contempt  upon  your 
supposed  effort  to  poke  ridicule  at  him.  He 
has  taught  himself  to  regard  the  word 
"  science"  as  the  property  only  of  book- worms 
and  cranks.  He  does  not  realize  that  every 
step  in  farming  is  a  purely  scientific  opera- 
tion, because  science  is  made  by  experiments 
and  investigations.  An  old  farmer  may  ex- 
amine a  soil,  and  tell  you  it  is  adapted  to 
wheat  or  corn,  that  it  is  warm  or  cold  and 
heavy,  or  a  few  other  facts  that  his  long  ex- 
periments have  taught  him,  and  to  that  ex- 
tent he  is  a  scientific  farmer.  He  will  tell 
you  that  his  knowledge  has  cost  him  much 
labor,  and  many  sore  disappointments.  Sup- 
pose that  in  his  youth  a  well-digested  chap- 
ter on  the  geological  history,  that  would  have 
told  him,  in  the  simplest  terms,  all  about  the 
land  he  was  to  cultivate,  how  invaluable  the 
lesson  would  have  been,  and  how  much  in 
money  value  it  would  have  proved  to  him. 
In  other  words,  if    you  could  g'  ^  e  your  boys 


a  practical  education,  made  up  of  a  few  les- 
sons pertaining  to  those  subjects  that  im- 
mediately concern  their  lives,  how  invaluable 
such  an  education  might  be,  and  how  many 
men  would  thus  be  saved  the  pangs  and  pen- 
alties of  ill-directed  lives.  .The  parents  often 
spend  much  money  in  the  education  of  their 
children,  and  from  this  they  build  great 
hopes  upon  their  future,  that  are  often 
blasted,  not  through  the  fault,  always,  of  the 
child,  but  through  the  error  of  the  parent  in 
not  being  able  to  know  in  what  real,  practi- 
cal education  consists.  If  the  schools  of  the 
country,  for  instance,  could  devote  one  of 
the  school  months  in  each  year  to  rambling 
over  the  hills  and  the  fields,  and  gathering 
practical  lessons  in  the  geology  and  botany 
of  the  section  of  country  in  which  the  chil- 
idren  were  born  and  reared,  how  incompar- 
ably more  valuable  and  useful  the  time  thus 
spent  would  be  to  them  in  after  life,  than 
would  the  present  mode  of  shu.tting  out  the 
joyous  sunshine  of  life,  and  expending  both 
life  and  vitality  in  studying  metaphysical 
mathematics,  or  the  most  of  the  other  text- 
books that  impart  nothing  that  is  worth  the 
carrying  home  to  the  child's  stock  of  knowl- 
edge. At  all  events,  the  chapter  in  a 
county's  history  that  tells  its  geological  for- 
mation is  of  first  importance  to  all  its  people, 
and  if  properly  prepared  it  will  become  a 
source  of  great  interest  to  all,  and  do  much 
to  disseminate  a  better  education  among  the 
people,  and  thus  be  a  perpetual  blessing  to 
the  community. 

The  permanent  effect  of  the  soil  on  the 
people  is  as  strong  and  certain  as  upon 
the  vegetation  that  springs  from  it.  It  is  a 
maxim  in  geology  that  the  soil  and  its  un- 
derlying rocks  forecast  unerringly  to  the 
trained  eye  the  character  of  the  people,  the 
number  and  the  quality  of  the  civilization 
of  those  who  will,  in  the  coming  time,  occuj^y 


HISTORY  OF  UNION  COUNTY. 


227 


it.  Indeed,  so  close  are  the  relations  of 
the  geology  and  the  people,  that  this  law  is 
plain  and  fixed,  that  a  new  countiy  may 
have  its  outlines  of  history  written  when  first 
looked  upon,  and  it  is  not,  as  so  many  sup- 
pose, one  of  those  deep,  abstruse  subjects 
that  are  to  be  given  over  solely  to  a  few  great 
investigators  and  thinkers,  and  to  the  masses 
must  forever  i*emain  a  sealed  book.  The 
youths  of  your  country  may  Jearn  the  impor- 
tant outlines  of  the  geology  of  their  country 
with  no  more  difficulty  than  they  meet  in 
mastering  the  multiplication  table  or  th« 
simple  rule  of  three.  And  we  make  no  ques- 
tion that  a  youth  need  not  "possess  one-half 
of  the  mental  activity  and  shrewdness  in 
making  a  fair  geologist  of  himself  that  he 
would  find  was  required  of  him  to  become 
a  successful  jockey  or  a  trainer  of  retriever 
dogs. 

On  the  geological  structure  of  a  country 
depend  the  pm-suits  of  its  inhabitants,  and 
the  genius  of  its  civilization.  Agriculture  is 
the  outgrowth  of  a  fertile  soil;  mining  results 
from  mineral  resoiu'ces,  and  from  navigable 
rivers  spring  navies  and  commerce.  Every 
great  branch  of  industry  requires,  for  its 
successful  development,  the  cultivation  of 
kindred  arts  and  sciences.  Phases  of  life 
and  modes  of  thought  are  thus  induced, 
which  give  to  difierent  communities  and 
states  characters  as  various  as  the  diverse 
rocks  that  underlie  them.  In  like  manner, 
it  may  be  shown  that  their  moral  and  intel- 
lectual qualities  depend  on  materal  con- 
ditions. Where  the  soil  and  subjacent  rocks 
are  profuse  in  the  bestowal  of  wealth,  man  is 
indolent  and  effeminate:  where  effort  is  re- 
quired to  live,  he  becomes  enlightened  and 
virtuous.  A  perpetually  mild  climate  and 
bread-growing  upon  the  trees,  will  produce 
only  ignorant  savages.  The  heaviest  mis- 
fortune that  has  so  long  environed  poor,  per- 


secuted L-eland  has  been  her  ability  to  pro- 
duce the  potato,  and  thus  subsist  wife  and 
children  upon  a  small  patch  of  ground. 
Statistics  tell  us  that  the  number  of  mar- 
riages are  regulated  by  the  price  of  corn, 
and  the  true  philosopher  has  discovered  that 
the  invention  of  gunpowder  did  more  to 
civilize  the  world  than  any  one  thing  in  its 
history. 

Geology  traces    the  history  of    the   earth 
back  through  successive    stages  of   develop- 
ment, to  its  rudimental  condition  in  a  state 
of  fusion.     The    sun,  and  the  planetary  sys- 
tem that  revolves  aroand  it,  were  originally 
a  common  mass,  that  became  separated  in  a 
gaseous    state,    and   the    loss    of  heat    in   a 
planet  reduced  it  to  a  plastic  state,  and  thus 
it  commenced  to   write  its  own    history,  and 
place    its  records    upon  these   imperishable 
books,  where  the  geologist  may  go  and  read 
the  strange,  eventful  story.     The  earth  was 
a  wheeling  ball  of  fire,  and  the  cooling  event- 
ually formed  the  exterior  crust,   and  in  th« 
slow  process  of  time  prepared  the   way  for 
the  animal  and  vegetable  life  it  now  contains. 
In  its  center  the  fierce  flames  still  rage,  with 
undiminished  energy.     Volcanoes  are  outl.its 
for  these  deep-seated  tires,  where  are  gener- 
ated those  tremendous  forces,  an  illustration 
of  which  is  given  in  the   eruptions  of    Vesu- 
vius, which  has  thrown  a  jet  of  lava,  resem- 
bling a    column  of   flame,  10,000  feet   high. 
The  amount  of  lava  ejected  at  a  single  erup- 
tion  from  one  of  the  volcanoes  of  Iceland 
has  been  estimated  at  40,000,000,000  tons,  a 
qiTantity  sufficient  to  cover  a  large  city  with 
a  mountain  as  high  as  the  tallest  Alps.     Our 
world  is  yet  constantly   congealinsr,    just  as 
the  process  has  been  going  on  for  billions  of 
years,  and  yet  the  rocky  crust  that  rests  upon 
this  internal  fire  is  estimated  to  be  only  be- 
tween  thirty   and  forty  miles   in  thickness. 
In  the  silent  depths  of  the  stratified  rocks 


228 


HISTORY  OF  UNION  COUNTY. 


are  the  former  creation  of  plants  and  ani- 
mals, which  lived  and  died  during  the  slow, 
dragging  centui'iesof  their  formation.  These 
fossil  remains  are  fragments  of  history, 
which  enable  the  geologist  to  extend  his  re- " 
searches  far  back  into  the  realms  of  the  past, 
and  not  only  determine  their  former  modes 
of  life,  but  study  the  contemporaneous  his- 
tory of  their  rocky  beds,  and  group  them  into 
systems.  And  such  has  been  the  profusion 
of  life,  that  the  great  limestone  fonnations 
of  the  globe  consist  mostly  of  animal  re- 
mains, cemented  by  the  infusion  of  animal 
matter.  A  large  part  of  the  soil  spread  over 
the  earth's  surface  "has  been  elaborated  in 
animal  organisms.  First,  as  nourishment 
it  enters  into  the  structure  of  plants,  and 
forms  vegetable  .tissue,  passing  thence,  as 
food,  into  the  animal  it  becomes  endowed 
with  life,  and  when  death  occurs  it  retiu-ns 
into  the  soil  and  imparts  to  it  additional 
elements  of  fertility. 

The  counties  of  Union,  Alexander  and  Pu- 
laski contain  an  area  of  812  square  miles,  em- 
bracing all  that  south  end  of  the  State  from 
the  confluence  of  the  Mississippi  and  Ohio 
Eiver,  extending  north  to  the  north  line  of 
Union,  and  from  the  Mississippi  River  to  the 
east  line  of  Pulaski  County. 

The  general  trend  of  the  line  of  uplift  .in 
this  section  of  country  is  from  northwest  to 
southeast,  and  the  dip,  with -some  local  vari- 
ations, is  to  the  northeastward.  Hence  the 
escarpments  on  the  south  and  west  sides  of 
the  ridges  are  steeper  and  more  rugged  than 
those  of  the  north  and  east.  The  river  bluffs 
along  the  Mississippi  are  high  and  rocky, 
and  are  frequently  cut  up  into  ragged  de- 
clivities and  sharp  summits,  and  are  formed 
by  the  chert  limestones  of  Upper  Silurian 
and  Devonian  age,  which  constitute  the  more 
soiithern  extension  of  the  bluffs  into  Alexan- 
der County.     Commencing  in  the  northeast- 


ern portion  of  Union  County  is  a  sandstone 
ridge,  which  forms  the  water-shed  between 
the  streams  running  northward  into  the  Big 
Muddy,  and  those  running  south  into  the 
Ohio  and  Mississippi  Rivers.  This  ridge 
presents  a  perpendicular  escarpment  on  its 
southern  face,  indicating  it  was  once  a  bluff 
to  some  river,  although  its  course  is  nearly  at 
right  angles  to  the  present  water-courses. 
Its  summit  is  formed  by  conglomerate  sand- 
stone, and  its  base  by  the  Lower  Carbonif- 
erous limestone.  South  of  this  chain  of 
bluffs,  and  extending  along  the  line  of  the 
Illinois  Central  Railroad,  from  Cobden  to 
the  bottom-lands  of  Alexander  County,  is  a 
broad  beltgf  couatiy  underlaid  by  the  Lower 
Carboniferous  limestone,  in  which  the  ridges 
are  less  abrupt  and  the  surface  so  gently 
rolling  as  to  be  susceptible  of  the  highest 
cultivation.  There  are  in  this  belt  an  abun- 
dance of  most  elegant  springs,  and  this  will 
some  day  be  the  great  blue-grass  district 
of  Southern  Illinois,  that  will  equal  in 
value,  for  dairy,  sheep-growing  and  the 
production  of  line  stock,  the  celebrated  blue 
i  grass  region  of  Kentucky,  if  it  does  not 
siu-pass  it.  All  it  wants  to  induce  a  spon- 
taneous growth  of  blue  grass  is  for  the  un- 
dergrowth to  be  cleared  up  and  put  to  past- 
ure. Here  are  water,  soil,  climate  and 
rocks  tliat  clearly  indicate  what  must  some 
day  inevitably  come.  Men  must  come,  or 
grow  up  here,  who  understand  fully  the  geo- 
logical formations  of  this  belt,  to  make  it  one 
of  the  most  beautiful,  as  well  as  the  most 
productive,  portions  of  the  State. 

For  nearly  eighty  years,  the  people  have 
lived  and  farmed  this  land  in  their  little 
patches  of  corn,  wheat  and  oats,  much  after 
the  fashion  they  would  have  managed  their 
farms  had  they  been  in  the  woods  of  Tennes- 
see or  "Middle  Illinois.  Because  they  could 
do  quite  as  well  as  their  neighbors  in  this  or 


HISTORY  OF  UNION  COUNTY. 


229 


the  adjoining  States,  they  have  been  content. 
They  knew  their  land  would  produce  wheat 
that  would  command  a  premium  in  all  the 
markets  of  the  world,  and  that  their  crops 
never  totally  failed,  as  they  often  did  in 
other  places,  and  they  contentedly  concluded 
it  was  exclusively  a  wheat- gi-owing  countiy. 
The  intelligent  geologist  could  have  told 
them,  two  generations  ago,  that  their  won- 
derful soil  was  better  adapted  to  that  better 
farming  where  there  are  no  such  things  as 
evil  effects  from  rains  or  di'oughts,  early 
frosts  or  late  springs ;  where  wealth  was 
absolutely  certain,  and  where  the  profits  and 
pleasui'es  of  farming'  would  [make  it  one  of 
the  most  elevating,  refining  and  elegant  piu'- 
suits  of  life;  where  life  upon  the  farm  was 
divested  of  that  di'udgery  and  unrequited  toil 
that  too  often  drive  the  young  men  from  the 
farms  to  the  even  more  wretched  life  of  a  pre- 
carious clerkship  in  the  towns  and  villages. 
Farming  is  much  as  any  of  the  other  pursuits 
of  life.  A  certain  locality  will  make  of  the 
farmers  the  most  elegant  a^l  refined  of  peo- 
ple, and  their  lives  will  be  siu'rounded  by  the 
comforts  and  luxuries  of  the  world.  Their 
sons  and  daughters  will  attend  the  best 
schools,  and  will  complete  their  education 
with  travels  in  foreign  countries,  and  thus 
attaining  that  refinement  and  cultui'e  that 
will  make  them  the  foremost  people  in  the 
country.  Fortunes  are  made  cultivating 
wheat  and  corn,  but  only  by  the  hardest  work 
and  closest  economy,  and  such  fortunes  are 
generally  gained  at  the  expense  of  all  self- 
cultui-e  among  the  families  that  thus  work 
their  way  along  their  slow,  heavy  road. 
There  are  few  things  more  pitiable  in  life 
than  to  go  into  a  family  where  there  is  wealth 
and  ignorant  gieed  combined — that  mockery 
of  all  the  civilizing  influences  that  wealth 
should  bring,  and  the  stupid  conviction  that 
ignorance  is  adorned  by  a  bank  account,  and 


gentility  and  sense  are  only  intended  for 
people  who  have  no  money.  The  truth  is, 
wealth  should  always  be  a  blessing  to  its  pos- 
sessor; yet  how  generally  is  it  a  curse,  be- 
cause its  acquisition  has  been  at  the  expense 
of  that  self-cultm-e  that  the  inexorable  laws 
of  nature  require  at  every  man's  hands. 

The  Lower  Carbonifei'ous  limestone  men- 
tioned above  ab  a  belt  extending  nearly  en- 
tirely across  Union  and  through  Alexander 
to  the  bottom  lands  above  Cairo,  extend  into 
the  northern  and  northwestern  portions  of 
Pulaski  County,  and  forms  gently  sloping 
low  hills,  with  a  fertile  soil,  a  rich,  are- 
naceous loam.  The  hills,  as  is  the  case  in 
Union  and  Alexander  Counties,  are  covered 
with  heavy  timber,  consisting  principally  of 
white  oak,  black  oak,  pigniit  hickory,  scaly- 
bark  hickory,  yellow  poplar,  black  gum, 
black  walnut  and  dogwood.  They  slope 
generally  to  the  southwest,  in  the  direction 
of  the  nearest  stream. 

The  rich  river  bottoms  along  the  Missis- 
sippi are  of  an  average  of  nearly  five  miles 
in  width,  and  are  as  rich  in  vegetable  food 
as  is  the  valley  of  the  celebrated  Nile  in 
Egypt.  The  bottoms  were  originally  covered 
with  forest  trees  that  often  attained  to  enor- 
mous size.  Except  that  these  bottoms  are 
subject  to  overflow  at  high  stages  of  water 
in  the  river,  there  would  be  no  farms  in  the 
world  more  productive  than  would  here  be 
found . 

The  main  body  of  the  iipland  of  Pulaski 
County,  between  Cache  and  the  Ohio  Rivers, 
is  underlaid  with  Tertiary  strata,  and  may 
be  called  oak  barrens.  They  consist  of  al- 
ternations gently  sloping,  more  or  less  sharp- 
ly rolling  or  broken  ridges.  Their  soil  is  a 
yellow  finely  arenaceous  loam,  which  extends 
to  a  considerable  depth.  The  gi'owth  in  the 
central  portion,  and  extending  nearly 
through  the   whole  width  of   the  county,  is 


2:5C 


HISTORY  OF  UN^I0:N^  COUNTY. 


characterized  by  an  abundance  of  small, 
brushy,  bitter  oak,  an  upland  variety  of  the 
Spanish  oak,  a  tree  which  is  hardly  "found 
anywhere  farther  north,  and  replaces  the 
black  oak  and  f  black  jack.  The  bitter  oak 
usually  forms  a  dense  underbrush,  together 
with  an  abundance  of  hazel,  sassafras  and 
sumac,  with  some  white  oak,  black  oak 
barren  hickory,  pignut  hickory,  black 
gum,  and  in  some  places  small  yellow  poplar. 
These  oak  barrens  are  only  now  beginning 
to  be  understood.  They  were  called  the 
"  barrens,"  and  the  name  indicated  all  the 
people  supposed  they  were  good  for  as  agricult- 
ural lands.  Thrifty  settlers  avoided  them, 
and  the  coon-skin  tribe  of  early  settlers  were 
too  often  ready  to  adopt  these  unfavorable 
judgments  of  these  lands,  and  offer  that  as 
an  excuse  for  their  own  laziness  and  igno- 
rance of  a  soil  that  was  really  very  strong  in 
all  the  elements  of  fertility,  and  capable  of 
being  made  the  rich  garden  spot  of  Illinois. 
But  the  ipast  decade  has  -brought  a  revela- 
tion to  this  valuable  part  of  the  State,  and  a 
new  style  of  farming  has  rapidly  taken  the 
place  of  the  old,  and  the  farmers  are  learn- 
ing that  for  wheat  their  country  is  unap- 
proachable; that  their  crops  never  fail,  and 
there  is  hardly  anything,  either  of  the  North 
or  the  South,  but  that  they  can  produce  to 
great  profit.  A  "single  instance  may  suffice 
to  illustrate  our  meaning.  Only  three  or 
foui-  years  ago  an  enterprising  farmer,  sim- 
ply because  he  was  too  poor  to  buy  teams 
and  the  modern  expensive  agricultural  imple- 
ments, planted  sweet  potatoes.  The  yield 
was  over  three  hundred  [bushels  to  the  acre, 
and  these  he  sold  for  $4  per  barrel.  This 
chance  experiment  taught  the  people  that 
they  could  raise  sweet  potatoes  in  as  great 
abundance,  and  of  as  fine  quality,  as  could 
be  produced  anywhere,  and  the  profits  of 
this  crop  were  simply  immense.     Sweet  pota- 


toes are  now  a  staple  product  of  Pulaski 
County,  and  in  a  few  years,  we  make  no 
doubt,  the  yield  will  be  very  large. 

There  are  no  true  coal-bearing  rocks  in  the 
limits  of  the  three  counties  of  Union,  Alex- 
ader  and  Pulaski,  and  hence  there  is  no  rea- 
sonable expectation  of  finding  extensive  or 
paying  deposits  of  coal.  From  time  to  time, 
much  labor  has  been  expended  in  digging 
for  coal  west  of  Jonesboro,  in  the  black  slate 
of  the  Devonian  series;  but  as  this  slate  lies 
more  than  a  thousand  feet  below  the  horizon 
of  any  true  coal -bearing  strata,  the  labor  and 
means  so  expended  were  only  in  vain.  There 
are  some  thin  streaks  of  coal,  but  it  only  ap- 
pears locally,  as  it  is  interstratified  with  the 
shales  of  the  Chester  series;  but  it  has 
never  been  found  so  developed  as  to  be  of 
any  practical  value. 

The  brown  Hematite  ore  exists  in  Union 
and  the  upper  portions  of  Alexander  and  the 
northwestern  part  ;^of  Pulaski,  but  so  far  no 
deposit  of  this  kind  has  been  discovered  suffi- 
ciently extensive -jand  free  from  extraneous 
matter  to  justify  mining  it  and  erecting 
furnaces  for  its  reduction,  and  the  iron  ore 
is  generally  so  intermingled  with  chert,  that 
its  per  cent  of  metallic  iron  is  small. 

The  sulphuretof  lead,  or  galena,  has  been 
found  in  small  quantities  in  the  cherty  lime- 
stones of  the  Devonian  series.  On  Huggins 
Creek,  on  the  southwest  quarter  of  Section  1, 
Township  11,  Range  3  west,  it  has  been 
found  near  Mr.  Gregory's.  The  galena 
occurs  here,  associated  with  calcspar,  filling 
small  pockets  in  the  rock.  If  this  ore  is 
ever  found  in  quantities  in  this  portion  of 
Illinois,  it  will  be  in  pockets,  and  it  is  very 
doubtful  if  it  will  ever  be  discovered  in  suffi- 
cient quantities  to  pay  for  the  digging. 

An  excellent  article  of  potter's  clay  occurs 
in  many  localities  in  the  three  counties.  In 
Section  2,  Town  12  south,  Range  2  west,  a  very 


HISTORY  OF  UN^ION  COUNTY. 


231 


fine  white  pipe-clay  is  found,  which  is  used 
by  Mr.  Kirkpatrick,  of  Anna,  for  the  manu- 
facture '  of  common  stone- ware,  by  mixing 
with  a  common  clay  found  near  the  town  of 
Anna.  This  pipe-clay  is  nearly  white  in 
color,  with  streaks  of  purple  through  it,  and 
appears,  from  its^olors,  to  have  been  derived 
from  the  striped  shales  known  locally  in  this 
part  of  the  State  as  "  calico  rock."  Except 
for  the  coloring  matter  which  it  contains,  this 
clay  seems  to  be  of  a  quality  suited  for  the 
manufacture  of  a  fine  .article  of  white  ware. 
The  clays  of  the  Tertiary  formation  are  found 
in  abundance,  and  they  are  valuable  for  the 
manufacture  of  potter's  ware,  and  for  years 
one  variety  has  been  in  use  at  Santa  F6.  It 
is  of  a  gray  color,  and  is  sufficiently  mixed 
with  sand  to  be  used  without  any  farther  ad- 
dition of  that  material.  Before  burning,  the 
ware  is  washed  with  the  white  clay,  to  im- 
prove its  color,  and  the  inside  of  the  vessel 
is  washed  with  Mississippi  mud  to  improve 
the  glazing.  The  white  clays  near  Santa  ¥6 
are  supposed  to  be  well  adapted  to  the  man- 
ufacture of  white  ware,  but  they  have  not 
been  properly  tested.  The  white  clays  result 
from  the  decomposition  of  the  siliceous  beds 
of  the  Devonian  series.  The  Devonian  sand- 
stone found  in  the  northeast  portion  of  Un- 
ion County  is  often  quite  pure  and  free  from 
coloring  matter,  and  is  well  adapted  to  the 
manufacture  of  glass. 

Those  portions  of  Pulaski  and  Union 
County  that  are  underlaid  with  limestone 
have  a  rich,  light,  warm  soil,  which  yields 
the  most  ample  rewards  for  the  labor  be- 
stowed upon  it.  The  southern  latitude  makes 
it  favorable  to  nearly  every  crop  that  has 
ever  been  tried  upon  it,  and  almost  every 
year  experiments  show  that  its  range  of  pro- 
duction is  most  extensive.  Many  years  ago, 
it  was  discovered  that  all  this  portion  of  Illi- 
nois  was   fertile   in   the   yield  of   peaches, 


apples  and  the  small  fruits,  and  lately  it  has 
demonstrated  that  in  all  garden  vegetables  it 
was  unsurpassed,  and  just  now  it  is  coming 
to  light  that  the  barren  ridges  promise  the 
best  results,  the  yellow  loam  being  one  of 
the  finest  and  most  inexhaustible  soils  in  the 
world.  On  the  wide  bottoms  of  Cache  River 
is  found  very  superior  land,  as  is  indicated 
by  the  timber  growth  upon  it.  The  low  bot- 
tom ridges  or  swells  have  a  black,  sandy  soil, 
which  is  more  or  less  mixed  with  clay,  and 
they  produce  most  bountifully.  They  are 
above  the  flood  level,  but  are  surrounded  by 
low  lands,  which  are  wet  and  often  impassable 
and  frequently  overflowed.  One  difficulty  in 
these  bottom  ridges  is  pure,  healthy  water, 
but  this  defect  could  be  supplied  by  cisterns. 
The  low  lands  are  very  rich,  are  also  very 
fertile,  but  somewhat  heavy  soil.  In  the 
course  of  time  these  will  become  very  valu- 
able. The  timber  is  heavy,  and  is  being 
rapidly  cut  out  to  supply  the  extensive  saw 
mills  on  the  railroads  and  Cache  River.  The 
removal  of  the  timber  has  a  drying  efifect  on 
the  soil,  and  places  which  a  few  years  ago 
were  continuous  swamps  are  now  becoming 
dry,  and  are  capable  of  growing  fine  crops  of 
corn.  This  influence  will  be  more  and  more 
felt  as  time  goes  on,  and  once  the  channel  of 
the  river  is  cleared  of  obstructions,  and  the 
soil  is  broken  with  the  plow,  large  stretches 
of  now  swamp  land  will  be  reclaimed  and 
converted  into  a  tine  agricultui'al  district. 
With  this  will  be  correspondingly  improved 
the  health  of  that  part  of  the  country.  Some  at- 
tempts have  been  made  to  drain  the  extensive 
cypress  swamps  of  Pulaski  County,  as  well 
as  in  Alexander  and  Union  Counties.  Some 
years  ago,  a  ditch  was  cut  from  Swan's  Pond, 
situated  in  Sections  22,  23,  20  and  27,  Town- 
ship 14,  Range  2  east,  to  Post  Creek,  which 
empties  into  Cache  River,  in  order  to  dry 
the  pond;  but  those  who  planned  the  'work 


•J32 


HISTORY  OF  UNION  COUNTY. 


were    incompetent   engineers;  the   necessary- 
preliminary  levelings  seem  not  to  have  been 
executed  at  all,  or  badly  exncuted;  for  when 
the  ditch  was  completed,   it   conducted  the 
water  the  wrong  way — that  is,  from  the  river 
to  the  pond,  instead  of  from  the  pond  to  the 
river.    Accurate  topographical  surveys  would 
readily  point  out  a  way  to  drain  the  swamp 
lands  of  the  Cache  River,  and  thus  reclaim 
a  very  large  and  rich   agricultural  section. 
All   over  this    district  is   found  a  soil  from 
three  feet  to  one  hundred  feet  in  depth,  that 
will  never  be  exhausted  by  the  husbandman. 
In  even  the  uplands  and  in  the  oak  barrens 
the  subsoil,  when  taken  from  a  depth  of   fif- 
teen or  twenty  feet,  needs  but  a  short  time  to 
mellow  and  then  produces  nearly  as  well  as 
the  Bui-face  soil.     The  richness  of  the  land, 
and  the  wonderful  store  of  elements  of  fertil- 
ity can,  therefore,  not  be  doubted.     All  that 
is  needed   is  to   keep  it   stirred,  and  as  the 
skimmed  surface  is  exhausted  simply  culti- 
vate   a   little   deeper,   and   here    is    a   bank 
against   which    the   farmer    may   draw   his 
checks  that  will  always  be  honored.     There 
is  a  just  mixture  of   sand  in  the  upland  soils 
that  makes  them  warm,  rich  and  porous,  caus- 
ing them  to  produce  an  unlimited  variety  of 
vegetation,   to  defy  the  droughts   as  well  as 
the    drowning   rains.     Hence  the    too  little 
known  fact  that  two  years  ago,  when   an  un- 
usually diy  summer  followed  a  wet  spring, 
the  crops  in  neai'ly  all  the  Mississippi  Valley 
failed,  and   yet   the  wheat   and  corn  in  the 
oak  barrens  of  Pulaski  County  produced   a 
good  average  crop.  Corn,  we  are  told  by  rep- 
utable farmers  in   that   district,   was  raised 
that  produced  forty  bushels  to  the  acre,  that 
was  rained  on  only  once   between   planting 
and  maturity.     No  industrious  farmer  need 
be  afraid  to  trust  such  a  soil  with  his  labor; 
he   may   be  certain   of  being   repaid,    with 
large  interest;  but  the  tendency  to  cultivate 


over-large  tracts,  slovenly,  proves   injurious 
to   the    land,    and   this    great   mistake    has 
caused  many  to  misjudge  the  land,  and  even 
pronounce  it  of   inferior  quality.     Here  is  a 
wonderful  and  only  partially  developed  coun- 
try,   destined,    some   time,    to   be   the    most 
valuable  spot  on  the  continent;  capable  of 
producing   tobacco,    cotton,    sweet   potatoes, 
fruits,    garden    vegetables,    corn,    wheat  and 
blue  grass;  supplied  with  magnificent  springs 
abundantly;  the  Mecca  of  the  coming  farmer; 
the  home  of  blooded  stock  of  all  kinds,  and 
eventually  a  race  of    people   who   may  take 
their  places  in  the  front  ranks  of  the  splendid 
civilization  of  the  Western  Hemisphere.    The 
shiftless  half  farmei',  half  coon-skin   hunter, 
and  the  slave  of  ignorance  and  a  life  of  mis- 
guided toil,  disease  and    suffering,  will   pass 
away,  as  have  the  red  wild  men  of  the  forest, 
and  here  will  take  their  places  a  type  of  re- 
finement,   intelligence,     cultui'e,    enterprise, 
wealth  and  comfort  that  produces  the  noblest 
races  of  men  and  women.     Natui'e's  bounties 
have   been   poured    out  upon    this    land   in 
boundless  profusion,  and  the  evil,  so  far,   has 
only    come    from  the    plethora  of   ignorance 
that  has  tried  in  vain  to    utilize  this  excess 
of  nature's  rich  profusion,  and  this  has  often 
given  gi'iefs  and  pain  where  only  should  have 
come    the    promised  joys.      It   will,    at    the 
rate    intelligence   has    progressed   since  the 
dawn  of  history,  be  a  long  time  yet,  perhaps, 
before  ignorance  ceases  to  afflict  mankind. 
And   it  should  be   borne  in   mind,    that  all 
pains   in  this  world  are  the  penalties  we  pay 
to  ignorance.  It  is  hardly  possible  for  a  pang 
to  come  from  any  other  source.    The  most  of 
us  are  incapable  of   understanding  or    inves- 
tigating  nature's  laws.       Hence,    we   come 
into  the  world  law-breakers,  and  thus  make 
of    this  otherwise  bright  and  beautiful  and 
joyovis  home  a  penal  colony  for  the  children 
of  men,  where  we  war  and  struggle  for  exist- 


HISTORY  OF  UNION  COUNTY. 


238 


ence,  and  suffer  long  and  die,  and  the  fitful 
fever  is  over,  and  the  unchangeable  and  in- 
exorable laws  of  God  go  on,  exactly  as  they 
have  always  gone  on  without  beginning,  and 
as  they  will  forever  without  ending 

Building  Stone  and  Marble. — The  whole 
southern  extremity  of  Illinois  has  an  abun- 
dant supply  of  superior  building  stone,  and 
some  day  the  quarries  will  be  properly 
opened,  and  then  the  amount  and  (quality  of 
the  material  they  will  afford  will  be  better 
known.  Here  will  then  be  a  vast  and  profit- 
able industry  developed.  First  in  impor- 
tance, pefhaps,  not  only  from  the  thickness 
of  the  formation,  and  consequently  the  large 
amount  of  material  it  will  afford,  is  the 
Trenton  Limestone,  which  has  outcropped 
more  extensively  on  the  river  blufis  below 
Thebes  than  anywhere  else.  This  formation 
is  about  seventy  feet  in  thickness  above  the 
low  water  level  of  the  river,  and  consists  of 
white  and  bluish-gray  limestone,  partly  in 
heavy  beds  of  from  two  to  three  feet  in  thick- 
ness. It  is  generally  free  from  siliceous  or 
fen-uginous  matter,  can  be  easily  cut  into  any 
desired  form,  and  is  susceptible  of  a  high 
polish,  and  is  adaj)ted  to  various  uses  as  a 
marble.  It  has  been  extensively  quarried  at 
Cape  Girardeau,  since  the  earliest  settlement 
of  the  country,  both  for  lime  and  for  the 
various  purposes  for  which  a  fine  building 
stone  is  required,  and  is  widely  known  and 
appreciated  as  the  "Cape  Girardeau  Marble" 
along  the  river.  For  the  consti'uction  of 
fine  buildings  and  the  display  of  elaborate 
architectural  designs,  this  rock  has  no  su- 
perior in  the  West. 

The  mottled  beds  of  the  Upper  Silurian 
series  consists  of  hard,  compact  limestone, 
and  are  susceptible  of  a  fine  polish,  and 
make  a  beautiful  marble.  The  prevailing 
colors  are  red,  buff  and  gray,  vai-ying  some- 
what at  different  localities.   The  rock  is  some- 


what siliceous,  and  consequently  harder  to 
work  than  the  white  limestone  of  the  Trenton 
group,  but  it  ,will,.  no  doubt,  retain  a  fine 
polish  much  longer  than  a  softer  material, 
and  the  varieties  of  colors  which  it  affords 
renders  it  well  adapted  to  many  uses  as  an 
ornamental  stone,  for  which  the  other  woald 
not  bo  required.  Thpse  mottled  layers  vary 
from  ten  to  twenty  feet  in  thickness,  and 
can  be  most  economically  quarried  where 
the  overlying  strata  have  been  removed  by 
erosion.  For  table-tops,  mantels,  etc.,  this 
is  one  of  the  handsomest  rocks  at  present 
found  in  the  country. 

The  St.  Louis  limestone  affords  a  good 
building  material,  especially  the  upper  and 
lower  divisions.  At  the  quarries  west  of 
Jonesboro,  the  rock  is  a  massive,  nearly 
white,  limestone,  free  from  chert,  and 
dresses  well,  and  in  a  dry  wall  will  prove  to 
be  dm'able,  but  splits  when  used  for  curbing, 
or  whenever  it  is  subject  to  the  action  of 
water  and  frost.  The  middle  of  this  division 
is  a  dark  gray  cherty  limestone,  that  might 
answer  well  for  rough  walls,  but  would  not 
dress  well,  in  consequence  of  the  cberty  mat- 
ter so  generally  disseminated  through  it. 
The  upper  division  of  this  stone  quarried 
east  of  Anna,  is  a  light  gray,  massive  lime- 
stone, tolerably  free  from  chert,  and  in  qual- 
ity similar  to  the  quany  rock  just  west  of 
Jonesboro. 

The  best  limestone  for  the  manufacture  of 
quicklime,  is  found  in  the  upper  portion  of 
the  St.  Louis  groiip,  and  is  extensively  quar 
ried  in  the  eastern  part  of  Anna  Precinct, 
and  in  the  edge  of  the  village  of  Anna, 
where  several  kilns  are  constantly  in  opera- 
tion. The  rock  is  a  crystalline,  and  partly 
o  Uitic,  light-gray  limestone,  nearly  a  pure 
carbonate  of  lime  in  its  composition,  and 
makes  a  fine,  white  lime,  similar  in  quality 
to  the  Alton  lime,  made    from   the  same  for- 


234 


HISTORY  OF  UI^TON  COUNTY. 


mation.  Much  of  Central  and  Southern  Illi- 
nois and  the  South  is  supplied  from  these 
kilns.  The  supply  of  this  stone  is  almost  in- 
exhaustible. 

The  Thebes  sandstone  affords  an  excellent 
dimension  stone  and  material  adapted  to  the 
construction  of  foundation  walls,  culverts, 
etc.  It  dresses  well,  and  is  durable.  Some 
of  the  beds  are  of  suitable  thickness,  and 
make  good  flagstones.  All  these  beds  out- 
crop along  the  banks  and  in  the  vicinity  of 
the  Mississippi  River,  and  consequently  may 
be  made  available,  at  a  small  cost,  to  all  the 
lower  country  bordering  on  the  Mississippi 
River  that  is  destitute  of  svich  material, 
which  is  the  case  with  the  entire  country 
from  Cairo  to  New  Orleans. 

Millstones. — The  en  jrmous  masses  of  chert 
rock  contained  in  the  Clear  Creek  limestones 
afford,  at  some  points,  a  buhr  stone  that  ap- 
pears to  be  nearly  equal,  if  not  quite  equal, 
in  quality  to  the  celebrated  French  buhr 
stones  so  extensively  used  for  millstones  in 
this  country.  Some  of  the  specimens  ob- 
tained here  seem  to  possess  the  requisite 
hai'dness  an(i  porosity,  and  some  millstones 
have  been  obtained  from  'the  chert  beds  of 
Bald  Knob  that  are  said  to  have  answered 
a  good  purpose,  and  have  been  used  in  the 
neighboring  mills.  But  these  were  made 
from  the  rock  that  had  been  long  exposed  at 
the  surface,  and  perhaps  were  not  taken  f rorn 
the  best  part  of  that;  while  the  beds  lying 
beyond  the  reach  of  atmospheric  influences 
have  not  been  tested. 

Grindstones. — Some  of  the  evenly-bedded 
sandstones  of  the  Chester  group,  and  es- 
pecially the  lower  beds  of  the  series,  are  fre- 
quently developed  in  thin,  even  layers,  that 
could  be  readily  manufactured  into  grind- 
stones. The  rock  has  a  fine,  sharp  grain ^ 
and  if  too  soft  when  freshly  quarried,  would 
harden  sufficiently  on  exposm-e  to  give  them 


the  necessary  durability.  Some  beds  of  the 
conglomerate  sandstone  also  have  a  sharp 
grit,  and  when  sufficiently  compact  in  text- 
ure and  even  bedded  will  make  good  grind- 
stones. 

Mineral  Siyrings,  at  Western  Saratoga,  in 
Union  County,  were  widely  known  as  far  back 
as  the  recollection  of  man  reaches  in  this  sec- 
tion. In  the  eai'ly  times,  it  was  a  noted 
"  deer  lick, "  and  the  deer  would  gather  here 
in  great  numbers  to  quench  their  thirst  and 
feed  at  their  "  licks."  It  was  a  noted  Indian 
camping-ground,  where  they  would  come  and 
hunt.  That  the  waters  possessed  mineral 
properties  was  known  to  the  earliest  settlers, 
and  as  early  as  1830  people  began  visiting 
the  place  from  Jonesboro  and  the  country 
north  to  Kaskaskia.  In  1838,  Dr.  Penoyer, 
who,  perhaps,  had  lived  in  Union  County 
some  little  time,  purchased  a  tract  of  160 
acres,  and  proceeded  to  lay  out  a  city,  of 
which  the  springs  were  to  form  the  center, 
and  gave  it  the  name  of  Saratoga.  Penoyer 
made  the  mistake  of  platting  his  town  and 
dedicating,  in  its  center,  a  square  to  the 
public,  and  this  precluded  any  one  from  tak- 
ing hold  of  it  and  developing  it  as  it  de- 
served. Another  error,  that  was  fatal  to  the 
development  of  the  place,  was  placing  upon 
the  lots  so  high  a  price  that  no  one  felt  they 
could  afford  to  invest.  However,  about  1840,  a 
man  named  Bradley  purchased  a  small  tract, 
and  erected  a  boarding-house.  This  stood 
until  1878,  when  it  was  burned.  Dr.  Penoyer 
and  a  man  named  Harkness,  whom  the  Doc- 
tor had  associated  with  him,  built  a  bath- 
ing-house, about  forty  rods  from  the  spring, 
and  connected  with  it  by  a  series  of  pipes. 
This  bathing-house  was  about  one  hundred 
feet  long  and  nine  feet  wide.  This  was  used 
for  some  time,  but  gi'adually  falling  into  dis- 
use it  rotted  down.  As  long  as  people  could 
get  accommodation,  they  flocked  here  in  great 


HISTORY  OF  I'NIOX   COUNTY. 


23") 


numbers.  They  came  from  all  directions, 
but  especially  from  the  Southern  States,  Mis- 
souri. Mississippi  and  Louisiana.  For  many 
summers,  the  boarding-houses,  and  all  who 
would  accommodate  boarders,  had  all  and 
more  than  they  could  accommodate,  and 
many  were  sometimes  turaed  back  by  learn- 
ing they  could  not  get  accommodations.  The 
price  of  lots  still  continued  exorbitantly 
high,  and  so  wretched  were  the  meager  ac- 
commodations, people  ceased  to  come,  and 
the  place  fell  into  decay.  A  spring  house, 
which  was  under  way,  was  left  to  its  fate  un- 
finished, and  the  timbers  now  lie  around  the 
spring  in  a  decaying  condition.  When  too 
late,  the  Doctor  discovered  his  mistake,  and 
had  what  he  called  a  deed  from  the  public  to 
himself  made,  conveying  the  spring  back  to 
himself.  This  cui'ious  document  was  signed 
by  the  visitors  who,  from  time  to  time,  were 
attracted  to  the  place,  and,  as  legal  wisdom 
spread  among  the  people,  it  eventually  came 
to  be  looked  upon  as  fraudulent.  Armed 
with  this  document,  the  Doctor  set  about  try- 
ing to  sell  the  springs. '  He  made  a  sale  to  a 
St.  Louis  and  also  to  a  Chicago  firm,  but 
when,  in  each  case,  the  abstract  of  title  was 
made  out,  the  trade  fell  through.  At  present 
the  springs  are  uncared-for  in  the  public 
square,  and  at  times  the  wayfarer  comes, 
drinks  of  the  Pool  of  Siloam,  and  is  benefit- 
ed. Over  one-half  of  the  original  town  plat, 
including  the  park,  lies  in  the  farm  of  Mr. 
Taylor  Dodd.  The  remainder  is  owned  by 
a  few  of  the  older  inhabitants,  most  of  whom 
look  forward  to  better  times  coming  for  the 
place.  Dx'.  T.  J.  Rich  resides  upon  part  of 
the  old  town  plat,  and  cultivates  his  fruit 
trees  where  once  it  was  intended  to  erect 
large  brick,  stone  and  iron  houses. 

The  property  is  located  in  Section  1, 
Township  12  south.  Range  1  west.  It  is  a 
tolerably  strong  sulphur  water,  and  contains 


sulphureted  hydrogen,  a  small  quantity  of 
sulphate  of  lime,  carbonate  of  soda,  chloride 
of  sodium,  and,  perhaps,  a  little  alumina  and 
magnesia.  The  water  is  said  to  be  a  specific 
for  dyspepsia  and  chronic  diseases  of  the 
skin.  It  is  also  said  to  be  beneficial  in  cases 
of  scrofula.  The  water  is  strongest  during 
the  dry  season  of  the  year,  being  then  less 
afi'ected  |by  the  admixture  of    surface  water. 

Dr.  Penoyer  seems  to  have  been  a  poor 
manager,  and  yet  the  waters,  were  shipped 
and  sold  by  him,  in  quantities,  to  many  parts 
of  the  country.  For  some  years  he  made  a 
practice  of  boiling  it  down  and  bottling  and 
peddling  it  about  the  country,  and  shipping 
to  those  wanting  it  at  a  distance. 

In  conversation  with  Dr.  T.  J.  Rich,  the 
following  additional  facts  were  learned;  The 
chief  ingredients  of  the  water  are  soda,  sul- 
phuret,  patash  and  traces  of  iron  and  iodine. 
The  odor  which  is  noted  upon  drinking  the 
water  is  caused  by  the  presence  of  sulphuret 
of  hydrogeo;  this  is  said  to  pass  away  entire- 
ly when  the  water  is  allowed  to  stand  an 
hoiu'  or  two. 

The  Doctor's  method  of  boiling  the  water 
was  to  take  100  gallons,  and  boil  it  until 
only  one'" remained.  This  one  gallon  was 
quite  thick,  and  tasted  like  soft  soap-suds, 
or  very  strong  soda-water.  It  was  about  the 
time  that  the  Doctor  was  engaged  in  making 
this  medicine,  probablj^  about  1850,  that 
there  was  an  epidemic  of  flux.  It  was  very 
fatal,  and  the  physicians  gave  up  many  cases, 
which  Dr.  Penoyer  was  able  to  cure  with  his 
medicine,  in  every  instance  in  which  it  was 
given  a  fair  trial. 

That  the  water  contains  ingredients  that 
are  full  of  strong  curative  powers  in  many  of 
the  human  ailments,  is  beyond  all  reasonable 
doubt,  and  nothing  short  of  Dr.  Penoyer' s 
folly  could  have  prevented  this  place  from 
loner  asro   becomins:  one  of   the   most   noted 


23G 


HISTORY  OF  UXIOX  COUNTY. 


health  rpsorts  in  the  coimtiy.  In  many 
chronic  ailments,  and  in  all  skin  diseases, 
and  for  old  sores,  it  has,  in  so  many  in- 
stances, and  unfailingly,  cured,  that  it  may 
be  said  to  be  a  specific. 

Road  Material. — An  inexhaustible  amount 
of  the  very  best  material  for  the  construction 
of  turnpike  or  common  roads,  abounds  on  all 
the  watercourses  that  intersect  the  uplands 
of  this  district,  and  is  derived  from  the 
cherty  limestones  of  the  Upper  Silurian  and 
Devonian  age.  It  consists  of  a  brown  flint 
or  chert,  finely  broken  for  use,  and  occurs 
abundantly,  tilling  the  valleys  of  the  small 
streams  that  intersect  the  limestones  above 
named.  This  has  been  used  at  St.  Louis  for 
the  manufacture  of  "concrete  stone,"  and  is 
found  equal  to  the  best  English  flint  for  this 
purpose.  The  material  with  which^  this  ex- 
periment was  made  was  obtained  in  Union 
County,  bat  it  differs  in  no  way  from  the  flint 
found  in  Pulaski  and  Alexander  Counties. 

Next  to  the  immense  deposits  of  coal,  the 
St.  Louis  limestone  is  reckoned  one  of  the 
most  important  formations.  It  receives  its 
name  from  the  city  where  its  lithological 
character  was  first  studied.  Imbedded  in 
its  layers  are  found  Crinoids,*  in  a  profusion 
found  nowhei'e  else  in  the  world.  Though 
untold  ages  have  elapsed  since  their  incar- 
ceration in  the  rocks,  so  perfect  has  been 
their  preservation,  their  structure  can  be  de- 
termined with  almost  as  much  precision  as 
if  they  had  perished  but  yesterday. 

The  soil  was  originally  .formed  by  the  de- 
composition of  rocks.  These,  by  long  ex- 
posure to  the  air,  water  and  frost,  became 
disintegrated,  and  the  comminuted  material 
acted  upon  by  vegetation,  forms  the  fruitful 
mold  of  the  surface.  When  of  local  origin, 
it  varies  in  composition  with   changing  ma- 

*  Crinoidea — An  order  uf  lily-shaped  marine  auiuials.  They 
generally  grow  attached  to  the  hottom  of  the  sea  by  a  pointtd  stem, 
analagouB  to  the  growth  of  plants. 


terial  from  which  it  is  derived.  If  sand- 
stone prevails,  it  is  too  porous  to  retain  fer- 
tilizing agents;  if  limestone  is  in  excess,  it 
is  too  hot  and  dry,  and  if  slate  predominates, 
the  resulting  clay  is  too  wet  and  cold. 
Hence,  it  is  only  a  combination  of  these  and 
other  ingredients  that  can  properly  adapt  the 
earth  to  the  growth  of  vegetation.  Happily 
for  nearly  all  the  Mississippi  Valley,  the 
origin  of  its  surface  formations  precludes  the 
possibility  of  sterile  extremes  arising  from 
local  causes.  And  these  causes  are  more 
abundant  in  the  south  end  of  Illinois  than 
in  probably  any  other  place  in  the  great  val- 
ley. The  surface  of  the  country  is  a  stratum 
of  drift,  formed  by  the  decomposition  of 
every  variety  of  rock  in  its  distribution. 
This  immense  deposit,  varying  from  fifteen 
to  two  hundred  feet  in  thickness,  requires 
for  its  production  physical  conditions  which 
do  not  exist  now.  We  must  go  far  back  in 
the  history  when  the  polar  world  was 
a  desolation  of  icy  wastes.  From  these 
dreary  realms  of  endui'ing  frosts,  vast 
glaciers,  reaching  southward,  dipped  into  the 
waters  of  an  inland  sea,  extending  over  a 
large  'part  of  the  Upper  Mississippi  Valley. 
The  ponderous  masses,  moving  southward 
with  an  irresistible  power,  tore  immense 
bowlders  from  their  parent  ledges  and  in- 
corporated them  in  their  structure.  By 
means  of  these,  in  their  further  progress, 
they  grooved  and  planed  down  the  subjacent 
rocks,  gathering  up  and  caiTying  with  them 
part  of  the  abraded  material,  and  strewing 
their  track,  for  hundi-eds  of  miles,  with  the 
remainder.  On  reaching  the  shore  of  the  in- 
terior sea,  huge  icebergs  were  projected  from 
their  extremities  into  the  waters,  which, 
melting  as  they  floated  into  the  warmer  lati- 
tudes, distributed  the  detrital  matter  they 
contained  over  the  bottom.  Thus,  long  be- 
fore the  plains  of  Illinois  clanked  with  the 


HISTORY  OF   UNION  COUNTY 


237 


din  of  railroad  trains,  these  ice-formed  navies  j 
plowed    the   seas    in  which   they   were  sub- 
merged,  and  distributed   over  them  cargoes  : 
of     soil-producing   sediment.       No    mariner  i 
walked   their   crystal    decks   to  direct  their 
course,  and  no  pennon,  attached  to  their  glit- 
tering masts,  trailed  in  the  winds  that  urged 
them  forward;  yet  they  might,  perhaps,  have 
sailed  under  flags  of  a  hundred  succeeding  em- 
pires, each  as  old  as  the  present  nationalities 
of  the  earth,  during  the  performance  of  their 
labors.      This  splendid   soil-forming  deposit 
is  destined  to  make    Illinois  the  great  center 
of   American  wealth   and  population.     Per- 
haps no  other  country  of  the  same   extent  on 
the  face  of   the  globe   can   boast  a  soii   so 
ubiquitous  in  its  distribution,  and  so  univer- 
sally productive.     And  here,  on  the  southern 
point  of  land  that  forme  the  extreme  South- 
ern Illinois,  is  a  soil  enriched  to  an  extraor- 
dinary depth  by  all  the  minerals  in  the  crust 
of   the  earth,  and  it  contains    an  unequaled 
variety  of    the    constituents  of   plant    food. 
Since  plants  differ  so  widely  in  the  elements 
of  which  they  are  composed,  this  multiplic- 
ity of  composition  is  the  means  of  gi'owing  a 
great  variety  of  crops,  and  the   amount  pro-^ 
duced  is  coiTespondingly  large.      So  gi'eat  is 
the  fertility  that  years  of    continued  cultiva- 
tion do  not   materially  diminish   the   yield, 
and  should  sterility  be  induced  by  excessive 
working,  the  subsoil  can  be  made    available. 
The  cultivation  of  the  soil   in  all  ages  has 
furnished    employment    for  the    largest   and 
best  portions  of    mankind;  yet  the  honor  to 
which  they  are  entitled  has  never  been  fully 
acknowledged.     Though  their  occupation  is 
the  basis  of  national  prosperity,  and  upon  its 
progress  more  than  any   other  branch  of  in- 
dustry, depends  the  march  of  civilization,  yet 
its   history  remains,  to    a  great  extent,  un- 
written.    Historians  duly  chronicle  the  feats 
of  the  warrior  who  ravages  the  face  of   the 


earth  and  beggars  its  inhabitants,  but  leaves 
unnoticed  the  labors  of  him  who  causes  the 
desolated  country  to  bloom  again,  and  heals, 
with  balm  of  plenty,  the  miseries  of  war. 
When  true  worth  is  duly  recognized,  instead 
of  the  mad  ambition  which  subjugates  na- 
tions to  acquire  power,  the  heroism  which 
subdues  the  soil  and  feeds  the  world  will  be 
the  theme  of  the  poet's  song  and  the  orator's 
eloquence. 

The  counties  of  Union,  Alexander  and 
Pulaski  form  the  extreme  south  end  of  the 
State,  occupying  nearly  all  that  point  of  land 
south  of  the  grand  chain  that  extends  across 
the  lower  end  of  the  State,  and  are  in  height 
from  500  to  700  feet,  and  that  make  a  strong 
line  of  difference  in  the  geological  forma- 
tions that  extend  to  the  bottom  lands  near 
Cairo,  as  well  as  exercising  a  strong  influ- 
ence upon  the  meteorological  changes  that 
occur  in  this  district.  The  timber,  soil, 
drainage  and  climate  of  this  district  cannot 
be  excelled.  Nature  has  strewn  here  rich 
and  inexhaustible,  and  formed  a  land  capable 
of  sustaining  a  greater  population  to  the 
area  than  any  other  district  in  the  country. 
"When  cultivated  and  tended,  as  it  will  be 
some  day,  to  its  full  capacity,  there  is  more 
dollars  per  acre  here  than,  perhaps,  in  any 
other  spot  on  the  globe.  Only  think  for  a 
moment,  it  is  no  experiment  to  make  fi'om 
$300  to  $500  net  on  a  single  acre  of  ground, 
and  that,  too,  on  land  that  you  can  buy  at 
from  $5  to  $20  per  acre.  It  is,  too,  most 
fortunately  situated  as  to  markets.  Markets 
that  can  never  be  overstocked  are  at  your 
door;  at  least,  so  near  at  ihand  that  transpor- 
tation is  merely  nominal.  Cincinnati, 
I  Chicago  and  St.  Louis,  in  fact  all  the  North, 
I  and  especially  the  growing  giant,  the  North- 
west Mississippi  Valley,  whose  climate  will 
make  it  always  come  here  as  the  best  of  cus- 
i  tomers,  and  then  there  is  the   entire  South, 


23  8 


HISTORY   OF   UNION    COUNTY 


to  the  Gulf,  that  will  be  perpetual  customers 
for  all  youi*  corn,  hay,  flour  and  all  domestic 
animals,  with  railroads  to  take  the  perish- 
able goods  ;vith  dispatch  to  their  destination, 
and  both  railroad  and  the  great  rivers  to  take 
the  bulky  and  more  durable  stuff  to  all  the 
world.  The  climate  alone  is  an  incalculable 
fortune,  a  perennial  fountain  of  gold,  as  it 
combines  the  advantages  of  the  North  and 
the  South,  enabling  yoii  to  produce  the  ear- 
liest fruits  and  vegetables  of  all  descriptions, 
thus  putting  you  in  the  mai'ket  when  com- 
petition is  impossible,  and  at  the  same  time 
you  can  grow,  to  the  best  advantage,  not  only 
winter  wheat,  but  all  the  cereals,  as  well  as 
compete  with  any  spot  in  the  country  in  rais- 
ing of  all  kinds  of  stock.  Then,  too,  you  are 
equally  fortunate  in  the  topography  of  your 
county,  both  for  tillage  and  for  health.  The 
hills,  undulations  and  rolling  bottom  lands 
giving  you  the  very  best  natural  di'ainage,  and 
here  you  will  be  equally  blest  with  health 
and  rugged,  happy  people,  as  soon  as  the 
heavy  timbers  in  the  bottoms  and  near  the 
lakes  are  a  little  more  cut  off,  and  the  pene- 
trating sunlight,  as  it  always  has  done  and 
always  will,  drives  away  all  malaria  and 
miasma.  Your  excellent  natural  drainage 
will  protect  you  from  the  drowning  spring 
waters  that  so  often  visit  the  central  and 
northern  portions  of  the  State,  and  this  very 
drainage  will  be  almost  a  specific  against  the 
drouths  that  sometimes  visit  nearly  all  por- 
tions of  our  country  with  such  a  heavy  hand. 
Thpse  truths  about  Southern  Illinois 
should  be  widely  disseminated.  Only  see 
what  wonders  have  been  performed  by  the 
railroads  in  peopling  the  treeless,  windy, 
diy,  grasshopper  regions  that  were  once 
known  as  the  Great  American  Desert.  That 
land  of  alkali,  sage-brush,  coyotes,  cow- boys, 
scalping  Indians  and  desolate  dogtowns. 
Th^y  blew  their  horns,  and  cried  aloud  from 


the  housetops;  they  advertised,  spent  thou- 
sands of  dollars,  and  have  been  repaid  in 
millions.  Here  is  the  difference:  Northenr 
Illinois,  Iowa,  Kansas  and  Nebraska  are  situ- 
ated in  the  natural  line  of  travel  for  the  old 
Eastern  States,  and  for  that  wonderful  tide 
of  immigration  poui'ing  constantly  into  this 
country  from  Europe,  thus  this  part  of  Illi- 
nois has  had  her  light,  so  far  as  emigration 
was  concerned,  hid  under  a  bushel.  Her 
unapproachable  sources  of  wealth  and  her 
incomparable  beauties  and  advantages  have 
been  unseen  and  unheeded. 

But  little  or  nothing  has  ever  been  done  to 
remedy  this  evil.  On  the  9th  of  last  Decem- 
ber, a  meeting  was  held  in  Cairo,  composed 
of  representative  men  from  Alexander,  Jack- 
son, Johnson,  Massac,  Perry,  Pulaski,  Will- 
iamson and  Union  Counties,  to  consider  the 
question  of  organizing  an  Emigration  Society 
for  Southern  Illinois.  They  concluded  to 
organize  under  the  corporation  law  of  the 
State,  with  a  capital  stock  of  $10,000.  They 
seemed  to  realize  it  as  a  fact,  known  to  ail 
intelligent  people  in  Southern  Illinois,  that 
we  have  sufi"ered  grievously  from  wi'ong  im- 
pressions, years  ago  spread  abroad  over  the 
country,  with  regard  to  our  climate,  soil  and 
general  material  conditions,  the  consequences 
of  which  are,  we  have  not  attracted  the  at- 
tention of  immigrants  that  our  merits  de- 
served, and  these  promoters  of  a  community's 
wealth  and  prosperity  have  passed  this  sec- 
tion by  and  gone  West,  and  fared  infinitely 
worse.  They  go  into  the  arid  wastes  of  the 
West,  and  suffer  untold  hardships.  The 
facts  are,  there  is  not  an  emigrant  that  em- 
barks for  America  that  has  ever  heard  of 
Southern  Illinois;  but  he  puts  on  his  hob- 
nailed shoes  and  starts  for  the  laud  of  free- 
dom and  hope,  in  the  firm  conviction  that 
Nebraska,  Kansas  and  the  Texas  Pan-Handle 
are  the  real  United  States — the  land  of  peace, 


HISTORY   OF  UNION  COUNTY. 


33  9! 


plenty,  hope  and  happiness.  His  pockets 
are  stuffed  with  glowing  literatiu'e  extolling 
these  places,  and  the  cunning  railroads  have 
hired  the  most  brilliant  writers  to  picture,  in 
flowing  and  fascinating  terms,  these  places 
that  catch  the  swift-coming  tide  of  immigra- 
tion. If  the  outside  world  does  hear  anything 
from  this  favored  and  incomparable  section  of 
country,  it  is  the  cheap  stock-slander  about 
"  EgyP^  ^^^  i^s  darkness  and  ignorance," 
until  frightened  simpletons,  who  swallow 
those  slanders,  are  tempted  to  travel  out  of 
their  way,  in  order  to  not  pass  through  this 
section  of  "  ignorant  barbarians. "  A  silly 
lie  can  always  outtravel  the  truth,  particu- 
larly when  the  slandered  community  treat  the 
slander  with  silent  contempt,  and  make  no 
effort  to  correct  the  story  and  present  the 
facts.  This  outside  prejudice  against  this 
section  must  be  overcome,  and  the  truth  dis- 
seminated in  its  place.  Why,  if  you  could, 
by  some  magic,  transport  this  part  of  Illi- 
nois, with  every  physical  fact  sm-rounding, 
exactly  as  the  facts  now  exist,  the  soil,  the 
production,  the  facilities  for  markets,  the 
health,  the  climate,  everything,  in  fact,  ex- 
actly as  it  is,  except  the  removal,  to  the 
northern  or  middle  portion  of  the  State,  the 
land  that  now  sells  for  $10  or  $15  per  acre, 
could  not,  in  three  months  after  the  change 
in  locality,  and  with  no  other  change,  mark 
you,  be  bought  for  $500  per  acre,  no,  nor  for 
$1,000  per  acre.  And  then,  in  a  very  few 
years.  Cook  County  would  be  the  only  county 
in  the  State  that  would  equal  this  section  in 
population.  Immigrants  going  to  a  new  coun- 
try are  much  like  a  flock  of  sheep  crossing  a 
fence.  They  follow  the  bell-sheep  without 
looking  to  the  right  or  left.  Of  course,  there- 
fore, it  is  more  difficult  to  aiTest  their  atten- 
tion now,  and  to  show  them  that  they  are 
sadly  deceived,  and  are  passing  b}',  in  ignor- 
ance, the    most   favored    spot  on   earth,    and 


going  to  not  the  most  favored  place,  even, 
in  this  Western  country.  We  see  the  poor- 
est country  in  America,  exactly  like  a  quack 
doctor,  can  grow  great  and  prosperous,  and 
smile  at  its  betters,  by  simply  advertising 
itself — using  printer's  ink.  This  is  the 
magic  ring — the  Aladdin's  lamp  that  brings 
wealth  and  prosperity  to  its  friends  and  pa- 
trons. The  ubiquitous,  restless,  dashing, 
energetic,  audacious  and  tireless  Yankee  of 
the  North  has  always  keenly  realized  this, 
and  has  subsidized  it  to  his  use  and  complete 
control,  and  when  he  got  a  land-grant  for  a 
railroad,  he  cared  not  what  the  country  was 
where  he  built  his  road  and  got  his  lands; 
he  printed  books,  pictures,  placards,  chro- 
mos,  handbills  and  "  dodgers"  by  the  mill- 
ion, and  told  all  the  world,  and  soon  con- 
vinced it,  too,  that  by  coming  to  him  they 
were  on  the  only  road  to  an  earthly  paradise. 
Could  the  outside  world  be  divested  of  its 
unjust  prejudices  about  this  locality,  and 
could  the  simple  truth — the  plain,  palpable 
facts — be  made  known  to  them,  what  a  quick 
revolution  it  would  produce  here — what  a 
transformation  scene  would  take  place. 

We  have  spoken  of  the  advantage  of  soil, 
climate  and  commerce;  we  have  only  spoken 
of  the  soil,  climate,  agricultural,  commercial 
and  market  advantages.  In  all  these  you  are 
not  only  unequaled,  but  you  are  simply  un- 
apjiroachable.  You  can  laugh  at  rivalry  in 
each  and  every  one  of  these  things.  In  fact, 
there  is  no  possibility  of  rivalry  fi-om  any 
other  section  for  anything  you  can  produce 
to  the  best  advantage.  Your  wheat  commands 
a  royal  premium  in  all  the  markets  of  the 
world;  your  corn  cannot  be  excelled  in  qual- 
ity; your  potatoes  are  not  only  excellent,  but 
they  go  to  the  Northern  market  at  a  season 
when  you  can  always  dictate  your  own  price 
per  bushel. 

The  topographical  advantages  seem  to  be 


240 


HISTORY  OF   UNIOJ^   COUNTY 


as  little  understood  by  the  people  as  is  the 
geology  of  this  locality.  The  geology  and 
topography  of  the  country  are  singularly  pe- 
culiar, the  remarkable  fact  being  that  these 
two  features — especially  the  topography — 
place  in  your  hands  advantages  that  will  for- 
ever exclude  competition  from  any  other 
section  of  the  country.  It  is  situated  just 
south  of  the  only  true  mountain  range  in 
Illinois,  the  spur  crossing  the  State  fi'om  the 
Ozark  Mountains  and  traceable  into  Ken- 
tucky. This  not  only  protects  it  fi'om  the 
severest  part  of  the  "  blizzards "  that  visit 
every  portion  of  the  West  each  winter,  but 
it  gives  it  warmth  of  soil  that  enables  you  to 
raise  early  fruits,  potatoes  and  garden  veg- 
etables, and  place  them  in  the  markets  at 
immense  advantage.  You  thus  have  the 
healthy,  bracing  air  of  the  Xorth.  that  im- 
parts a  tonic  and  vigor  to  all  animal  life,  as 
well  as  the  genial  warmth  of  more  southern 
localities — combiningr  the  bracingr  Northern 
atmosphere  and  the  early  fructifying  tropical 
warmth.  Your  advantages  in  this  line  are 
already  demonstrated  in  reference  to  fruits 
and  early  vegetables  of  all  kinds,  and  the 
same  great  truths  will  be  some  day  equally 
well  demonstrated  in  regard  to  another  and 
vastly  profitable  industry  for  the  people, 
namely,  the  raising  of  blooded  cattle  and  the 
establishment  of  creameries  and  butter  manu- 
factories. Here  is  an  unexplored  mine  of 
incalculable  wealth,  where  it  is  again  most 
fortunate  indeed.  We  know  of  no  point  in 
the  country  where  a  creamery  would  yield  as 
much  profit  on  the  capital  invested  as  here. 
The  cold  spring  waters,  pure  air  and  superior 
pasturage  would  make  the  greatest  yield  of 
butter  of  the  "  gilt-edge  "  quality,  and  then 
you  are  where  you  could  command  the 
choicest  of  the  butter  trade  of  the  entire 
South.  And  in  this  respect  there  is  as  little 
danger  of  competition  from  other  sections  of 


the  country  as  there  is  in  your  fruits  and 
vegetables  for  shipment  North.  For  instance, 
Cairo  is  always  ready  to  pay  about  10  cents 
per  pound  more  for  choice  butter  than  the 
Chicago  price.  They  never  can  make  good 
butter  south  of  this  part  of  Illinois,  and 
hence,  you  are  at  their  door  with  all  the  fa- 
cilities and  advantages  of  any  Northern  point 
in  production,  and  the  immense  advantage 
of  being  the  favored  ones  in  the  valuable 
Southern  trade.  Thus  the  profits  are  multi- 
plied each  way.  And  is  it  not  plain  that  if 
the  creameries  of  Northern  Illinois  are  a 
source  of  gi-eat  profit,  both  to  the  factories 
and  to  all  the  farmers  for  a  wide  circuit  of 
miles  around  them,  would  they  not  be  im- 
mensely more  profitable  and  beneficial  if  lo- 
cated in  Union  County?  This  is  not  all  the 
profits  that  are  to  be  made  oflf  domestic  cattle 
here.  This  disti-ict  is  the  home  of  the  nutri- 
tious grasses  that  enter  into  the  business  of 
stock-raising — producing  these  in  gi-ea<est 
abundance  and  of  the  finest  quality.  Show 
the  world  the  truth,  just  as  it  exists,  and  you 
will  soon  see  your  county  filled  with  graded 
cattle,  when  the  industry  of  butter-making 
alone  would,  of  itself,  make  your  people 
prospei'ous  and  rich.  Your  command  of  the 
great  and  best  mai'kets  in  the  world — the 
South  for  your  butter,  eggs  and  poultry,  is 
one  of  those  peculiar  advantages  of  climate, 
soil  and  topography  that  makes  it  a  favored 
locality.  Eggs  and  butter  may  yet  become 
a  fountain  of  more  wealth  to  the  county  than 
are  now  the  wheat  and  corn  of  any  county  in 
the  State.  Thus,  this  point  of  Illinois  is  the 
doorway  of  the  world's  best  markets,  particu- 
larly the  North  and  the  South,  where  it  will 
practically  always  remain  without  competi- 
tion. 

One  day  last  winter  there  was  a  car-load 
of  mules  and  horses  that  had  been  pur- 
chased in  Anna,  and  were  on  the  switch   at 


HISTORY  OF   UNION   COUNTY. 


243 


the  depot  preparatory  to  starting  to  Nebraska, 
and  while  they  stood  there,  the  freight  train 
passed,  going  South,  and  had  several  car- 
loads of  horses  and  mules  that  had  been 
gathered  up  in  the  central  portion  of  the 
State  for  the  Southern  markets. 

A  few  years  ago,  some  Germans  came  into 
Union  County  from  Pennsylvania,  and 
among  their  purchases  were  some  of  the  old- 
est farms  in  the  county;  farms  that  had  been 
badly  cared  for,  and  "skinned"  and  washed 
until  they  were  supposed  to  be  nearly  worth- 
less. Great  gullies  had  been  plowed  through 
the  fields  in  every  direction  by  the  waters, 
and  the  rich  soil  had  disappeared.  These 
thrifty  and  industrious  people,  nothing 
dau.nted,  went  to  work,  and  now  the  soil  is 
restored,  the  gullies  and  washouts  are  filled, 
and  the  finest  and  largest  crops  every  year 
are  the  rich  rewards  of  their  careful  foresight 
and  industry.  The  geologist  will  tell  you 
that  your  land  will  never  wear  out  under  in- 
telligent treatment,  because  there  is  stored 
in  the  subsoil  an  inexhaustible  source  of 
wealth — a  bank  that  will  never  break  nor  run 
away  with  the  deposits,  upon  which  the 
farmer  may  draw  checks  that  will  always  be 
honored,  and  paid  in  glittering  gold.  The 
same  geologist  will  tell  you  that  the  geolog- 
ical formation  of  a  county  always  determines 
the  quantity,  quality  and  value  of  its  popu- 
lation— not  only  the  numbers  of  the  people 
that  will  some  day  live  upon  it,  but  will  pre- 
figure their  comforts,  wealth,  enjoyments  and 
the  possibilities  of  their  enlightenment  and 
civilization.  Hence,  what  is  beneath  the  sur- 
face of  your  land  is  of  the  very  greatest  im- 
portance to  all. 

In  Pulaski  County  is  a  similar  experiment 
of  what  a  little  intelligent  treatment  may  do 
for  a  farm  that  had  been  pronounced  worn 
out  by  the  "  skinning"  process  of  farming, 
on  the  farm  occupied  by  Dr.  G  .AV.  Bristow, 


near  New  Grand  Chain.  The  Doctor  has 
only  required  foui*  years  to  convert  it  into 
one  of  the  best  f  ai'ms  in  the  county,  and  richer 
than  it  was  when  the  virgin  soil  was  first 
turned  by  the  plow. 

The  past  winter  fui'nished  some  remarkable 
testimony  as  to  the  meteorological  advan- 
tages this  end  of  Illinois  possesses  in  cli- 
matic arrangements.  The  Northeast,  the 
West  and  Southwest — in  fact,  the  entire  coun- 
try— was  visited  by  some  remarkable  winter 
storms,  sometimes  termed  "blizzards,"  that 
passed  over  the  country,  carrying,  often,  de- 
struction to  man  and  beast.  In  the  cattle  and 
sheep  regions  of  the  "West  and  Southwest, 
there  was  great  loss  of  stock  from  these 
storms.  The  fierce  winds  were  almost  like  a 
tornado,  and  they  carried  the  blinding  snow 
and  frost  at  such  a  rate  as  to  send  the  ther- 
mometer down  from  forty  to  sixty  degrees 
in  a  few  hours.  Several  of  these  storms  were 
unparalleled  in  intensity,  and  so  widespread 
were  they  that  much  stock  was  destroyed  as 
far  South  as  Central  Texas.  The  repord  of 
the  thermometer  on  one  of  these  occasions' 
marked  17^  below  zero  at  St.  Louis,  and  5° 
below  zero  at  Dallas,  Tex.,  and  at  the  same 
time  it  barely  reached  zero  in  any  of  this 
part  of  the  State  south  of  the  north  line  of 
Union  County.  At  no  time,  dm'ing  the  entire 
winter,  did  the  mark  go  below  zero  here, 
when  it  passed  below  that  point  six  or  seven 
hundred  miles  south  of  this.  And  during  the 
cold  storms,  on  more  than  one  occasion,  there 
was  a  difference  of  fifteen  or  twenty  degrees 
between  this  place  and  any  point  forty  or 
fifty  miles  north  of  this.  This  remarkable 
state  of  facts  results  from  the  topography 
of  this  part  of  Illinois.  The  mountain  chain, 
six  or  seven  hundred  feet  high,  passing  across 
the  State,  just  north  of  this  district,  forms 
a  barrier  to  the  tierce  winds  from  the  north, 
and    deflects  them  to  the    west  or  east,    or 

14 


244 


HISTORY   OF    UNION  COUNTY. 


raises  them  so  high,  that  they  pass  above  us 
and  produce  little  or  no  efifect.  Then,  again, 
the  great  river,  leading  directly  from  the 
Gulf,  forms  a  complete  isothermal  line,  that 
is  unobstructed  in  its  course  until  it  strikes 
this  mountain  range,  when  it  stops,  and,  to 
some  extent,  recoils  upon  the  northern  part 
of  Union  County. 

These  are  some  of  the  geological,  meteoro- 
logical and  topographical  advantages 
Union,  Alexander  and  Pulaski  Counties  pos- 
sess over  all  other  portions  of  the  great  and 
and    rich    State    of    Illinois,    and    in    the 


interests  of  truth  and  justice,  and  in  vindica- 
tion of  a  long-neglected,  misunderstood  and 
grossly  misrepresented  portion  of  our  be- 
loved native  State,  we  have  attempted  briefly 
to  explain  the  more  important  facts.  To  give 
the  skeleton  oulines  of  such  well-established 
truths  as  will  enable  the  people  to  go  look 
for  themselves,  and  to  continue  the  investi- 
gation in  all  its  detail,  and  the  conclusion  in 
every  case,  whether  a  friend  or  a  prejudiced 
foe  of  this  southern  end  of  Illinois,  he  will 
rise  from  the  investigation  ready  to  exclaim, 
"  the  half  has  not  been  told." 


CHAPTER  II. 


"For  the  truth  is,  that  time  seemeth  to  be  of 
the  nature  of  a  river  or  stream,  which  carrieth  down 
to  us  that  which  is  light  and  blown  up,  and  sinketh 
and  drowneth  that  which  is  weighty  and  solid."— 
Bacon. 

AS  to  the  many  different  peoples  that  have 
occupied  all  this  portion  of  the  coun- 
try, in  the  long-baried  ages  of  the  past,  are 
questions  that  have  long  been,  and  are  now, 
of  deep  interest  to  archaeologists.  How  many 
different  and  distinct  races;  how  many  cent- 
uries intervened  between  their  rise  and  ex 
tinction;  what  manner  of  people  they  were, 
and  how  they  came  and  then  passed  away — 
many  of  them,  perhaps,  leaving  no  wrack 
behind,  while  others  built  the  mounds,  the 
military  posts  of  defense,  the  burial  monu- 
ments, the  flint  instruments  of  the  chase,  and 
the  varieties  of  pottery  that  are  dug  up  here 
and  there,  as  the  mute  but  eloquent  story  of 
an  unknown  people,  who  here,  at  some  time 


PRE-HISTORIC  RACES— THE  MOUND  BUILDERS— FIRE  WORSHIPERS— RELICS  OF  THESE  UNKNOWN 

PEOPLE— MOUNDS,  WORKSHOPS  AND  BATTLE-GROUNDS  IN  UNION,  ALEXANDER   AND 

PULASKI  COUNTIES— VISITS  OF  NOXIOUS  INSECTS— HISTORY  THEREOF,  ETC. 

in  the  world's  history,  lived,  flourished, 
struggled  and  died.  Could  we  unravel  the 
strange,  eventful  story  of  these  different  peo- 
ples, what  fairy-like  legends  they  would  be. 
Thus,  the  busy  investigators  are  digging  in 
the  mounds,  visiting  the  battle-fields  and 
delving  in  the  burial  places,  and  laboriously 
and  patiently  trying  to  unravel  and  gather 
up  their  histories,  and  rescue  them  from  the 
oblivion  that  has  so  long  rested  upon  their 
memories. 

Until  within  a  period  considerably  less 
than  a  century  ago,  few,  comparatively,  of 
even  the  thinking  and  investigating  portion 
of  mankind,  were  much  concerned  about  the 
question  of  the  antiquity  of  the  race.  The 
church  maintained,  through  centuries,  that 
the  Bible  was  the  only  authentic  and  trust- 
worthy record  of  antiquity,  and  maintained, 
equally,  that  itself  was  the  only  authorized 
interpreter  of   this  record  and  on   this  basis 


HISTORY  OF  UNIOX  COUNTY 


345 


certain  vague  chronology,  which  did  not,  in 
its  various  forms,  agree  with  itself  by  some 
three  or  four  thousand  years,  and  this  vague 
belief  as  to  time,  which  fixed  the  origin  of 
man  and  of  the  globe  he  inhabits  at  a  period 
now  some  six  thousand  years  ago,  was  gener- 
ally accepted  as  not  to  be  disputed.  Now  and 
again  some  thinker,  bolder  than  his  fellows, 
formulated  some  theory  which  looked  toward 
a  far  greater  antiquity  for  the  race.  As 
early  as  1734,  Mahudel,  and  at  a  later  period 
Mercatl,  ventui-ed  the  suggestion  that  the 
flints  found  pretty  much  all  over  the  globe, 
"  from  Paris  to  Nineveh,  from  China  to  Cam- 
boja,  from  Greenland  to  the  Cape  of  Good 
Hope,"  were  the  weapons  of  the  men  who 
lived  "  before  the  flood."  But  these  were 
looked  upon,  when  they  received  any  atten- 
tion at  all,  as  merely  fanciful,  not  to  say 
ridiculous,  speculations.  Even  when  Buffon, 
in  1788,  "  affirmed  again  that  the  first  men 
began  by  sharpening  into  the  form  of  axes 
these  hard  flints,  jades  or  thunderbolts, 
which  were  believed  to  have  fallen  from  the 
clouds  and  to  be  formed  by  the  thunder,  but 
which,  said  he,  '  are  merely  the  first  move- 
ments of  the  art  of  man  in  a  state  of  nature,' 
the  simple  and  just  theory,  upon  the  sub- 
stantial truth  of  \^hich  all  scientific  men  are 
now  agreed,  was  allowed  to  pass  without 
notice."  Later,  Mr.  Bouche  de  Perthes  was 
virtually  laughed  at  upon  the  presentation 
of  an  account  of  his  discoveries,  and  the 
theories  he  deduced  from  them,  to  the  French 
Institute,  and  it  was  not  until  the  lapse  of 
fifteen  or  twenty  years  from  th^  time  when 
he  first  called  the  attention  of  that  body  to 
these  discoveries  and  theories  that  they  were 
given  any  serious  consideration.  Even  then, 
the  attention  was  not  what  a  purely  scientitic 
question  should  have.  De  Perthes  himself 
says:  "  A  poi-ely  geological  question  was 
made   the    subject  of   religious   controversy. 


Those  who  threw  no  doubt  upon  any  religion 
accused  me  of  rashness;  an  unknown  archae- 
ologist, a  geologist  without  a  diploma,  I  was 
aspiring,  they  said,  to  overthi-ow  a  whole 
system  confirmed  by  long  experience  and 
adopted  by  so  many  distinguished  men. 
They  declared  that  this  was  a  strange  pre- 
sumption on  my  part.  Strange,  indeed;  but 
I  had  not  then,  and  I  never  have  had,  any 
such  intentions.  I  revealed  a  fact;  conse- 
quences were  deduced  from  it,  but  I  had  not 
made  them.  Truth  is  no  man's  work;  she 
was  created  before  us,  and  is  older  than  the 
world  itself;  often  sought,  more  often  re- 
pulsed, we  find  but  do  not  invent  her.  Some- 
times, too,  we  seek  her  wrongly,  for  truth  is 
to  be  found  not  only  in  books;  she  is  every- 
where; in  the  water,  in  the  air,  on  the  earth; 
we  cannot  make  a  step  without  meeting  her, 
and  when  we  do  not  perceive  her  it  is  be- 
cause we  shut  our  eyes  or  turn  away  our 
head.  It  is  our  prejudices  or  our  ignorance 
which  prevent  us  from  seeing  her — from 
touching  her.  If  we  do  not  see  her  to-day, 
we  shall  see  her  to-morrow;  for,  strive  as 
we  may  to  avoid  hei",  she  will  appear  when 
the  time  is  ripe."  These  are  very  simple 
truths,  and  yet  it  is  only  the  man  who  has 
the  courage  to  see  facts  who  is  also  capable 
of  seeing  these  truths  of  reason.  The  change 
froiu  that  day  to  this  is  remarkable  indeed. 
Neither  ridicule  nor  disbelief  is  now  the  por- 
tion of  the  believer  in  that  antiquily  of  the 
race  which  goes  back. of  a  supposed  Biblical 
chronology.  Even  upon  the  point  of  that 
chronology  itself,  scientific  men  and  the  most 
learned  theologians  alike  are  almost  or  quite 
ao-reed  to  coincide  with  Sylvestre  de  Sacy, 
himself  a  savant  and  devout  Christian  also, 
who  said:  "People  perplex  their  minds 
about  Biblical  chronology,  and  the  discrep- 
ancies which  exist  between  it  and  the  dis- 
coveries of  modern  science.     They  are  great- 


246 


HISTORY  OF  UNION  COUNTY 


ly  in  error,  for  there  is  no  Biblical  chronol- 
og}'."  While  this  is  true  of  the  thinking 
people  of  the  world,  it  is  in  far  less  degree 
true  of  the  unthinking  masses,  and  the  liberal 
thinker  is  even  yet  looked  upon  by  many  as 
a  sort  of  monster.  This  is  not,  however,  a 
fact  that  ought  to  produce  any  uneasiness, 
since  it  is  the  opinion  of  the  thinkers  which, 
sooner  or  later,  makes  the  opinion  of  the 
world. 

This  territory,  including  the  three  coun- 
ties of  Alexander,  Union  and  Pulaski,  are 
rich  in  these  remains  and  relics  of  men  of  a 
time  reaching  back  to  the  paleolithic  and 
the  neolithic  civilizations,  or  rather  of  the 
slow  evolution  of  civilization  in  those  divis- 
ions of  the  so-called  stone  age,  of  which  those 
"  fairy  tales  of  science"  that  were  started 
into  life  dm-ing  the  past  quarter  of  a  century 
were  written.  The  mounds,  and  the  great 
workshops  for  the  manufacture  of  flint  in- 
struments, the  battle-grounds  and  the  burial- 
places,  indicate  that  some  one  race  of  these 
stone-age  people  probably  made  their  na- 
tional headquarters  in  the  upper  portion  of 
Alexander  County,  and  from  this  point  they 
extended  their  habitations-  and  working 
places  in  every  direction,  into  Kentucky, 
jVfissouri  and- the  uppor  portion  of  Illinois. 
The  most  recent  "  finds  "  have  been  so  traced 
as  to  plainly  point  out  that  from  here  they 
must  have  traveled  into  and  through  Mexico 
and  into  South  America,  and  that  in  making 
this  extended  voyage  they  passed  directly 
southwest  from  this  point,  and  in  returning 
they  came  from  the  Gulf  toward  the  lower 
portion  of  the  Ohio  River,  on  the  east  side 
of  the  Mississippi,  and  the  improvement 
■  made  in  the  few  flio  t  instruments,  and  again 
in  the  pottery  vessels,  mark  as  well  the  ad- 
vances these  pre-historic  races  made  as  the 
course  of  their  slow  travels  over  the  con- 
tinent.   If  the  cave  people  were  here  in  these 


hills  of  Southern  Illinois,  their  resorts  or 
dwelling-places  have  not  yet  been  discovered, 
yet  the  hunt  for  them  has  hardly  com- 
menced, as  the  investigations  are  so  far  con- 
fined to  the  mounds  and  the  graves,  as  well 
as  the  flint  instruments  that  are  plowed  up 
in  the  fields  and  found  nearly  everywhere 
over  the  face  of  the  country.  The  topog- 
raphy of  the  country  has,  most  probably,  in- 
vited here,  at  some  time,  the  cave-dwellers. 
The  action  of  man  himself  should  be  well 
considered  in  seeking  the  causes  which  have 
brought  about  the  filling  of  the  caves ;  for  in 
many  cases  they  have  served  as  dwellings,  as 
refuges,  as  the  rendezvous  of  hunters,  as 
meeting  places  or  tombs  to  the  earliest  popu- 
lations of  these  districts.  It  is,  therefore, 
not  surprising  that  they  should  have  left  in 
them  their  mortal  remains,  the  fragments  of 
their  daily  meals,  their  weapons,  their  tools — 
in  a  word,  the  still  simple  products  of  their 
dawning  industry.  Unfortunately,  we  can- 
not always  be  sui*e  that  these  objects  are  of 
the  same  date  as  the  bones  of  extinct  species 
with  which  they  are  found.  Accidental  dis- 
turbances of  the  soil,  occuring  at  widely- 
separated  jpeiiods,  may  have  mixed  the  pro- 
ductions of  human  industry  with  the  bones 
of  a  very  difi"erent  date.  This  is  evidently 
the  case  in  the  cave  of  Fausan  (Herault),  where 
Marcel  de  Sevres  found  a  fragment  of  enameled 
glass  embedded  in  a  skull  of  Ursus  Spelaeus  ; 
specimens  of  fire-baked  pottery,  relatively 
quite  modern,  were  found  at  Bize,  by  the 
same  naturalist,  side  by  side  with  other  ves- 
sels of  unbaked  clay  and  of  far  ruder  work- 
manship. Similar  facts,  which  may  have  oc- 
casioned many  mistakes,  have  been  observed 
in  several  other  caves,  among  which  it  is 
sufficient  for  the  moment  to  cite  those  of 
Herm  and  Auvignac.  We  cannot,  therefore, 
always,  and  as  a  matter  of  course,  conclude 
that  the  human  bones  found  in  company  with 


HISTORY  OF  UNION  COUNTY. 


247 


the  remains  of  extinct  animals  were  contem- 
poraiy  with  each  other.  But  doubt  is  no 
longer  reasonable  when  the  bones  of  animals 
and  those  of  om-  own  species,  uniformly 
mixed,  imbedded  ;in  the  same  sediment,  and 
which  have  undergone  the  same  alterations, 
are,  moreover,  covered  by  a  thick  layer  of 
stalagmite;  when  objects  of  a  completely 
primitive  industry  occupy  the  same  bed  with 
bones  belonging  to  extinct  species;  when  the 
latter  bear  the  evident  marks  of  human 
workmanship;  finally,  when  we  find  in  the 
diluviau  strata  of  the  valleys  manufactured 
objects  and  bones  exactly  like  those  dis- 
covered in  caves  of  the  same  date.  Now,  all 
these  circumstances  occitr  together  in  the 
valleys  of  the  Somme,  the  Khine,  the 
Thames,  etc. ,  as  well  as  in  certain  caves  of 
France,  England,  Belgimn,  Italy,  Sicily,  etc. 
Dr.  W.  R.  Smith,  of  Cairo,  informs  us 
that  he  has  extensively  examined  the 
mounds,  burial-places  and  workshops  of 
Southern  Illinois,  and  across  the  river  into 
Kentucky  and  Missouri.  He  finds  within 
this  scope  of  country  the  biu'ial  mounds,  tem- 
ple mounds,  altar  mounds  and  mounds  of 
observation,  the  distinction  in  them  being 
clear  and  distinct,  and  he  finds  many  facts 
corroborating  the  belief  that  the  upper  part 
of  Alexander,  or  the  lower  portion  of  Union 
County,  was  the  center  or  gi-eat  meeting 
place  of  the  surrounding  tribes.  In  the  tem- 
ple mounds  are  many  evidences  that  they 
were  erected  by  the  fire- worshipers.  The 
Lake  Millikin  mound,  in  Dogtooth  Bend,  is 
the  third  largest  mound  in  size  in  the  United 
States.  A  large  number  of  mounds  in  th« 
western  and  southern  parts  of  Union,  and  in 
the  upper  part  of  Alexander  County,  are  all 
bui-ial  mounds,  and  one  very  large  one  in 
Alexander  is  composed  of  chert  stone,  and 
was  evidently  the  point  where  they  manu- 
factured their  rude    implements  of  industry 


and  the  chase,  and,  most  singularly,  it  seems, 
they  carried  the  flinty  chert  rock  to  their 
working  place  instead  of  moving  their  work- 
ing place  to  the  hills  where  ihey  dug  out  the 
chert  used  in  the  manufactm-e.  This  mound 
has  every  appearance  of  having  been  fonned 
as  chip  mounds  are  formed  near  the  wood 
piles  where  the  wood  is  chopped,  and  the 
chips  left  to  rot  and  accumulate.  The  im- 
mensity of  the  works  may  be  imagined  when 
the  workmen's  chips  would  accumulate  into  a 
large-sized  mound  that  would  remain  through 
all  these  ages,  and  another  most  singular  cir- 
cumstance is  the  fact  that  no  implements  can 
be  found  at  these  points  where  they  were  evi- 
dently made.  Across  in  Kentitcky  is  an  ex- 
tensive region  underlaid  with  remnants  of 
pottery,  and  the  grounds  about  Fort  Jefifer- 
son  seem  to  have  been  the  main  headquarters 
for  this  industry,  the  bm-ned  fragments,  in 
some  places,  underlying  the  thin  surface  soil 
to  a  considerable  depth.  In  Kentucky  and 
Missouri,  near  Cairo,  a  gi-eat  many  pieces  of 
pottery  have  been  found,  in  a  perfect  state 
of  preservation,  particularly  some  perfectly 
formed  water  jugs,  that  are  so  true  and  per- 
fect in  construction  that  skilled  workmen 
who  have  examined  them  have  believed  they 
could  only  have  been  made  upon  a  potter's 
wheel.  Dr.  Smith  suggests  that  they  shaped 
or  fashioned  their  flint  implements,  and  were 
enabled  to  chip  and  break  them  into  the 
many  forms  they  did,  by  means  of  heat,  and 
then  deftly  touching  with  a  wet  stick  at  just 
those  points  which  they  wished  to  scale  oflf. 
It  is  possible  that  in  this  way  they  made 
their  flint  or  chert  darts  and  arrow-heads, 
while  other  rocks  show  they  were  shaped  by 
rubbing  and  the  slow  process  of  fi'iction. 

Ethnology  has  hardly  yet  begun  to  be  a 
science,  and  yet  its  progress  is  sufiicient  to 
demonstrate  that,  in  the  slow  progi-ess  of 
evolution,    many     millions    of    years     have 


348 


HISTORY  OF  rXIOX  COUNTY 


passed  away  since  man,  in  some  form,  ap- 
peared upon  our  continent.  But  why  a 
numerous  people  should  appear  in  the  world, 
live  out  their  allotted  time,  and  wholly  dis- 
appear, and  in  the  long  course  of  time  be 
followed  by  another  and  yet  a  distinct  race 
of  people.  Did  they  come  at  fixed  periods, 
think  you,  after  the  manner  of  the  seventeen- 
year  locusts?  Evidently  not;  as  the  old 
law  of  transmigration  of  souls  would  have 
to  be  revived,  in  order  to  account  for  those 
long  periods  of  absence  of  each  race  from  the 
earth.  In  the  investigations  thus  far,  these 
two  points  only  are  established;  that  is: 
That  distinct  races  have  come,  lived  their 
brief  time  upon  the  earth,  and  then  passed 
away  eutirely,  to  be  succeeded  by  another 
race  of  human  beings,  and  this  by  still  an- 
other. How  many  of  these  have  played  their 
separate  parts  in  this  wonderful  world's 
drama  we  may  never  know,  and  so  blended 
now  are  the  remains  and  traces  they  have 
left,  that  it  may  be  forever  impossible  to  ar- 
rive at  the  numbers  of  the  difierent  races, 
much  less  to  fix  the  period  of  the  coming  of 
the  first,  or  the  length  of  time  intervening 
between  the  disappearance  of  one  and  the  ap- 
pearance of  the  other.  Indeed,  so  little  can 
we  yet  positively  know,  that  it  may  even  be 
conjectui'ed  that  one  people  would  come  and 
displace  those  they  found  here,  much  as  the 
white  man  has  superseded  the  Indian,  and  in 
the  course  of  long  centuries  have  driven 
them  from  the  face  of  the  earth. 

In  the  northeast  part  of  Pulaski  County, 
where  the  river  bank  is  rugged  and  rocky, 
the  sandstone  rocks  have  been  washed  bare, 
in  the  solid  rocks  are  the  footprints  of  three 
persons,  a  man,  woman  and  a  child,  the  child 
supposed  to  have  been  about  six  years  old. 
The  impressions  of  the  feet  are  clear,  and 
every  outline  sharply  defined,  and  are  sunk 
into  the  rock  nearly  an  inch  in  depth.     They 


are  ordinary  sized  feet,  and  indicate  arched 
instep  and  wide  and  long  toes — feet,  evi- 
dently, that  had  never  been  cramped  by  tight 
shoes.  The  position  of  the  tracks  would  in- 
dicate the  man  and  woman  (and  it  is  only 
supposed  to  be  a  woman's  track  because 
somewhat  more  delicate  and  smaller  than 
the  other)  stood  facing  each  other,  and  five 
or  six  feet  apart,  and  the  child  stood  to  the 
man's  lef t^  a  few  feet.  A  few  feet  from  these 
are  plainly  marked,  on  the  same  rock,  tui'key 
tracks,  and  these  you  can  trace  where  the 
tiu-key  walked  out  and  circled  and  returned 
by  the  same  way  that  it  came.  The  surface 
soil  at  one  time  had  covered  this  rock  three 
or  foui'  feet  in  depth. 

Insect  Plagues. — At  irregular  periods,  in 
nearly  ail  portions  of  the  world,  appear  those 
extraordinary  visitations  of  insects,  that  sud- 
denly come,  and  often  as  suddenly  disap- 
pear, and  we  can  no  more  tell  from  whence 
they  come  than  we  can  tell  whither  they  go. 
All  of  the  southern  and  central  portions  of 
Illinois,  particularly  this  extreme  southern 
end  of  the  State,  received  one  of  these  un- 
accountable visits  this  year  (1883),  in  the 
foiTu  of  innumerable  caterpillars.  They  over- 
ran the  country  in  immense  numbers,  and  as 
they  came  with  the  early  tree  leaves,  they 
left  the  apple  trees  and  certain  kinds  of 
forest  trees,  upon  which  they  fed,  as  barren 
of  foliage  as  the  middle  of  winter.  The 
forest  ti'ees  upon  which  they  would  feed  were 
the  walnut  and  sweet  gum  and  the  red  oak. 
The  injury  these  insects  caused  was  not 
regularly  inflicted  upon  all  the  orchards,  as 
there  wei'e  places  where  they  did  not  seem  to 
go,  and  thus  some  orchards  escaped  their 
visitations,  while  in  other  localities  it  is  much 
feared  the  trees  are  permanently  injm*ed. 
They  were  called  caterpillars,  and  yet  they 
were  a  different  variety  from  the  regular  old 
orchard    insect    that     weaves    its     web    and 


HISTORY  OF  UNION  COUNTY. 


249 


hatches  its   young  to  feed  upon    the    leaves, 
and  more   or   less  of   which  we   have  every 
year.     They  were   like  those  noxious  insects 
that  have  from  time  immemorial  visited  the 
world,  that   are  to  the    insect  world  much  as 
the  wandering  comets  to  the  heavenly  bodies. 
The  sudden  appearance,  and  the  no  less  sud- 
den disappearance,  of    noxious  insects,  have 
given  rise  to  much  speculation  concerning 
their  cause.     They  have  been  common  in  all 
countries,  from  the  equator  to   those  nearest 
the  poles.     The  earliest  historians  took  note 
of   them.     Moses   has  described   the    insect 
plagues    of  ancient   Egypt,    and    Greek  and 
Roman  writers   furnish  graphic    accounts  of 
the   ravages  of  insects  in  other  countries  of 
antiquity.       In    times    when   religious    and 
superstitious  beliefs  were  stronger  than  they 
are  at  present,  it  was  generally  thought  that 
insects  were  sent  to  various  jjarts  of  the  earth 
to  inflict  punishments  for  the  sins  of  the  peo- 
ple.    It  appears  certain   that  the  coming  of 
large    numbers  of  noxious    insects  has  been 
accompanied    with     outbreaks    of    epidemic 
diseases  among  human  beings  and  domesti- 
cated animals.     Possibly  the  climatic  condi- 
tions that  favored  the  production  of  these  in- 
sects were  unfavorable  to  the   health  of    ani- 
mals, human  beings    included.     When   some 
of   the  vegetation  was   destroyed,  it  was  but 
natural  that  the   physical    condition  of   the 
animals   that   gained  their   sustenance  from 
them  should  be  reduced.     The    sudden  de- 
struction of  vast  numbers  of  insects  would  be 
likely  to  vitiate  the  air  and  to  render  water 
unlit  to  drink.     If  we  can  credit  ancient  his- 
torians, the  sudden  appearance  of  large  num- 
bers of  insects,  especially  of  those   not  com- 
mon to  the  country,  was  generally  accompa- 
nied by  earthquakes,  floods  and  various  other 
calamities.     No  natural  connection,  of  course, 
exists  between   the   flight  of    locusts  and  an 
upheaval  of  the  earth.      The  early  accounts 


of  insect  plagues  are  generally  meager,  and 
probably  very  inaccurate. 

About  the  year  141,  we  are  told  that  "  de- 
vastation from   every   variety  of    the   insect 
tribe "  presaged    the    outbreak  of   an  awful 
pestilence  at  Rome  in  that  year.    In  158,  all 
the  grain  in   Scotland  was  destroyed,  famine 
ensuing.     An  ecclesiastical  chronicler  relates 
that  when  the  King  of  Persia  was  besieging 
Nisibin  in    260,  swarms   of   gnats   suddenly 
appeared,   and    attacked    his    elephants   and 
beasts  of  burden  so  furiously  as  to  kill  or  dis- 
able   most   of    them.      The    siege  had  to  be 
raised  in  consequence,  a  step  which  ultimate- 
ly   led  to   the    discomfiture  of    the    Persian 
Army.     In  406,  multitudes  of  grasshoppers 
infested  Egypt.     They  are  said  to  have  been 
so  numerous    that  the  putrifaction  of    their 
dead  bodies  occasioned  a  plague  in  the  coun- 
try.  It  is  not  improbable  that  locusts  are  the 
insects   meant,   for  we    frequently    find   old 
writers   calling    locusts    grasshoppers;    and, 
besides,    there    are    many    instances    of    the 
advent  of  locusts   in   a  country  beino-    fol- 
lowed   by    a    pestilence.       In    1807,    after 
a    shower   of    blood    in    England,    Grafton 
says  that  there  "  ensued  a  great  and  exceed- 
ing number  and  multitude  of  flies,  the  which 
were  so   noxious    and  contagious  that    they 
slew  many  people."     What  might  be  the  nat- 
ure   of   these    deadly  flies  we  are    unable  to 
conjecture. 

The  army  of  Philip  of  France,  while  at 
Gerona,  in  1283,  was  attacked  by  swarms  of 
flies,  the  poisonous  stings  of  which  were 
fatal  both  to  the  men  and  the  horses.  The 
insects  are  described  as  being  the  size  of 
acorns.  Two  species  have  been  suggested  as 
likely,  neither  of  them,  however,  indigenous 
to  Spain,  viz.,  the  Simulum  reptans,  a  native 
of  Eastern  countries,  and  Chrj/sops  coecu- 
tiens,  an  African  fly,  which  is  said  to  attack 
horses.     The   French  Armv  lost  about  four 


250 


HISTORY  OF  UNI0:N^  COUNTY. 


thousand  men,  and  as  many  horses,  through 
the  attacks  of  this  insect  The  plague  was 
attributed  to  a  miracle  wrought  by  St.  Nar- 
cissus. In  128'),  "a  curious  worm,  with  a  tail 
like  a  crab,"  appeared  in  numbers  in  Prussia. 
The  sting  of  the  creatiu'e  was  fatal  to  animals 
within  three  days. 

Riverius,  a  medical  writer,  mentions  that 
in  April  and  May,  1580,  prodigious  swarms 
of  insects  obscured  the  daylight,  and  were 
crushed  on  the  roads  by  the  million.  The 
species  is  not  indicated,  but  they  were  sup- 
posed to  have  risen  out  of  the  earth.  In  1612, 
previous  to  the  outbreak  of  epidemic  pestilence 
in  Germany,  Goelenius  relates  that  "  a  sud- 
den and  amazing  number  of  spiders  ap- 
peared." It  is  curious  that  the  same  phe- 
nomenon occurred  at  Seville  nearly  a  century 
afterward.  In  1708,  just  before  the  plague 
broke  out  in  that  city,  imrpiense  swarms  of 
insects  appeared,  most  conspicuous  among 
which  were  spiders.  Why  spiders  in  par- 
ticular should  herald  pestilence  it  is  difficult 
to  understand.  In  the  summer  of  1664,  the 
ditches  in  England  were  filled  with  frogs 
and  various  kinds  of  insects,  the  houses  liter- 
ally swarmed  with  flies,  and  ants  were  so 
numerous  that  they  might  have  been  taken 
in  handfuls  from  the  highways.  This  abund- 
ance of  insect  life  was  said  to  foreshadow 
the  great  plague  of  London  which  followed. 
Five  years  later,  a  remarkable  swarm  of 
"ant-flies"  alighted  at  Litchfield  and  other 
places.  They  appeared  over  the  city  about 
noonday,  and  were  so  thick  that  they  dark- 
ened the  sky.  On  alighting,  they  "filled 
the  houses,  stung  many  people  and  put  all 
the  horses  mad."  All  who  happened  to  be 
out  of  doors  had  to  flee.  The  market  people 
packed  up  their  goods  and  made  off,  and 
those  in  the  harvest  field  were  all  driven 
home.  After  remaining  on  the  ground  for 
three   hours,    the    swarm    took   flight    in    a 


northerly  direction.  So  many  of  the  insects 
were  left  dead  on  the  streets  that  their  bodies 
were  swept  into  great  heaps. 

In  1679,  the  little  town  of  Czierko,  in 
Hungary,  was  the  scene  of  a  curious  visita- 
tion. During  the  summer,  a  winged  insect, 
of  an  unknown  species,  made  its  appearance, 
and  inflicted  mortal  wounds  upon  men, 
horses  and  oxen  with  its  sting.  Thirty-five 
men  and  a  great  number  of  animals  wore 
killed.  In  the  case  of  the  men,  the  insect 
inserted  its  [sting  wherever  the  skin  was  un- 
protected, i,  e.,  the  face,  neck  and  hands. 
Shortly  after  the  infliction  of  the  wound,  a 
tumor  was  formed.  Unless  the  poison  was 
extracted  at  once,  the  victims  died  within  a 
few  days.  The  Poles,  it  seems,  were  the 
chief  sufiferers,  on  account  of  their  habit  of 
wearing  short  hair,  and  thus  exposing  their 
necks.  It  is  remarkable  that  the  insects 
confined  their  ravages  to  Czierko,  a  circum- 
stance which  caused  many  people  to  regard 
them  as  a  divine  punishment. 

Sir  Thomas  Molyneux,  in  the  "  Natural 
History  of  Ireland,"  gives  an  account  of  an 
invasion  of  cockchaflfers,  which  occurred  in 
1088.  He  says:  "They  appeared  on  the 
southwest  coast  of  the  county  of  Galway, 
brought  thither  by  a  southwest  wind."  Pass- 
iog  inland  toward  Headford,  "  multitudes  of 
them  showed  themselves  among  the  trees  and 
hedges  in  the  day-time,  hanging  by  the 
boughs,  thousands  together,  in  clusters, 
sticking  to  the  back  one  of  another,  as  in  the 
manner  of  bees  when  they  swarm.  Those 
that  were  traveling  on  the  roads,  or  abroad 
in  the  fields,  found  it  very  uneasy  to  make 
their  way  through  them,  they  would  so  ])eat 
and  knock  themselves  against  their  faces  in 
their  flight,  and  with  such  force  as  to  smart 
the  place  they  hit,  and  leave  a  slight  mark 
behind  them.  A  short  while  after  their  com- 
ing, they  had  so  entirely  eaten  up  and  de- 


HISTORY  OF  UXION  COUNTY. 


251 


stroyed  all  the  leaves  of  the  trees  for  some 
miles  about,  that  the  whole  country,  though 
it  was  the  middle  of  summer,  was  left  as 
bare  and  naked  as  if  it  had  been  the  depth 
of  winter,  making  a  most  unseemly,  and,  in- 
deed, frightful  appearance;  and  the  noise 
they  made,  whilst  they  were  seizing  and 
devouring  this  their  prey,  was  as  surprising, 
for  the  grinding  of  the  leaves  in  the  mouths 
of  this  vast  multitude  altogether,  made  a 
sound  very  much  resembling  the  sawing  of 
timber.  Out  of  the  gardens  they  got  into  the 
houses,  where  numbers  of  them,  crawling 
about,  were  very  irksome." 

The  ensuing  spring  (1689)  brought  but 
little  improvement,  for  the  young  of  the  in- 
sect, "  lodged  under  the  ground,  next  the  up- 
per sod  of  the  earth,"  did  great  mischief  by 
devouring  the  roots  of  the  corn  and  grass. 
These  indispensable  crops  having  failed,  the 
people  were  reduced  to  the  necessity  of  cook- 
ing the  cockchaffers  and  eating  them,  while 
the  hungry  "  swine  and  poultry  of  the  coun- 
try at  length  grew  so  cunning  as  to  watch 
under  'the  trees  for  their  falling."  The 
plague  was  fortunately  checked  by  high  winds 
and  wet  weather,  which  was  so  disagreeable 
to  the  insects  that  many  millions  of  them 
died  in  one  day's  time.  Smoke  was  also  dis- 
tasteful to  them,  and  some  places  were  pro- 
tected from  their  ravages  by  making  fires  of 
weeds  and  heath.  Some  years  after  this, 
the  dead  insects  lay  in  such  quantities  on 
the  Galway  shore  as  to  form  at  least  forty  or 
fifty  horse  loads.  In  1697,  they  reached  the 
Shannon,  and  some  of  them  crossed  the  river 
and  entered  Leinster;  but  there  they  were 
met  by  an  "  army  of  jackdaws,  that  did  much 
damage  among  them,  killing  and  devom'ing 
great  numbers.  Their  main  body  still  kept 
in  Connaught,  and  took  up  their  quarters  at 
a  well-improved  English  plantation,  where 
they  found   plenty  of   provisions,   and  did  a 


great  deal  of  mischief  by  stripping  the 
hedges,  gardens  and  groves  of  beech  quite 
naked  of  all  their  leaves. "  The  cockchaffer, 
which  is  called  in  Irish  Primpelan,  still  ex 
ists  in  the  countr}\ 

Immediately  after  the  destruction  of  Port 
Royal  (Jamaica),  in  June,  1692,  by  an 
earthquake,  great  numbers  of  mosquitoes  and 
flies  appeared.  The  same  thing  has  been  ob- 
served after  earthquakes  and  volcanic  erup- 
tions elsewhere.  Thus,  in  1783,  after  a 
tremendous  eruption  of  the  volcano  Skaptar 
Jokul,  in  Iceland,  the  pastures  swarmed 
with  little  winged  insects,  of  blue,  red,  yel- 
low and  brown  colors,  which  belonged  to  a 
species  until  then  unknown  in  the  island. 
They  were  not  at  all  destructive,  but  caused 
considerable  inconvenience  to  the  haymakers, 
who  were  covered  with  them  from  head  to 
foot.  The  cause  of  the  sudden  appearance 
of  insects  at  such  times  may  be  the  rise  of 
temperature  due  to  volcanic  activity  induc- 
ing premature  development.  The  so-called 
new  species  may  possibly  have  been  one  in- 
digenous to  the  island  at  a  remote  period, 
when  its  climate  was  different,  some  long- 
buried  larvpe  of  which  the  volcanic  heat  serve 
to  develop. 

In  the  year  1858,  there  was  a  visitation,  in 
pretty  much  all  Southern  Illinois,  of  the 
"  army  worm. "  In  places,  they  almost  cov- 
ered the  face  of  the  earth,  and  often  a  person 
could  not  walk  along  the  highway  without 
crushing  them  under  his  feet.  They  seemed 
to  be  constantly  traveling  in  the  hunt  of 
timothy  grass  or  the  wheat  fields.  They 
would  leave  the  grass  fields  looking  much  as 
though  a  fire  had  passed  over  them,  and,  if 
the  wheat  had  well  "headed  out,"  they 
would  feed  upon  the  leaves  of  the  stalk  and 
do  no  harm.  In  fact,  many  farmers  believed 
that,  under  these  circumstances,  they  were  a 
benefit    to   the   wheat.      Chickens,    turkeys, 


252 


HISTORY  OF  UNION  COUNTY 


birds  and  hogs  would  devour  the  army  worm 
in  great  quantities,  yet  they  came  in  such 
numbers  that  such  enemies  made  no  apparent 
impression  upon  their  volume,  and  farmers 
would  dig  trenches  about  the  timothy  and 
field  of  young  corn,  and  then  they  would 
tumble  into  the  trench  until  it  was  nearly 
full,  would  hitch  a  horse  to  a  log  and  drag 
it  along  the  trench,  and  thus  crush  them  by 
millions,  and  yet,  by  the  time  he  would  thus 
go  around  his  field,  the  ditch  would  again  be 
full. 

The  locusts  have  made  their  irregular,  and 
yet  somewhat  regular,  visitations  to  all  parts 
of  the  State,  and  this  portion  of  Illinois; 
being  all  heavily  timbered,  they  have  come 
hero  in  much  greater  numbers  than  in 
many  other  parts  of  Illinois.  They  are  an 
arboreal  insect,  and  although  capable  of  ex- 
tended flight,  yet  they  do  not  care  to  travel 
farther  than  from  tree  to  tree,  at  very  short 


distances.  They  inflict  much  injury  to 
orchards,  as  well  as  some  of  the  forest 
trees,  in  the  process  of  depositing  their  eggs 
in  the  young  twigs.  They  always  come  about 
the  middle  of  spring,  when  the  leaves  are 
unfolded  and  the  new  and  tender  twigs  of 
the  limbs  of  the  tree  are  growing.  They 
select  this  new  growth  to  bore  into  and  de- 
posit their  eggs.  They  find  a  place,  and 
bore  two  holes  into  the  wood,  and  these  holes 
circle  and  come  together,  this  junction  al- 
ways being  toward  the  body  of  the  tree.  Sp 
perfectly  is  the  work  done,  that  the  twig  will 
soon  break,  the  leaves  will  die,  and  after  a 
certain  time  it  will  fall  to  the  ground,  carry- 
ing every  egg  with  it,  and  this  falling  of  the 
dead  twig  is  timed  exactly  to  the  time  when 
the  egg  is  ready  to  hatch  out  a  grub,  and 
at  once  it  goes  into  the  ground  on  its  thir- 
teen or  seventeen  year  trip,  according  to  the 
kind  to  which  it  belongs. 


CHAPTER    III. 


THE  DARING  DISCOVERIES  AND  SETTLEMENTS  BY  THE  FRENCH -THE  CATHOLIC  MISSIONARIE.S- 

DISCOVERY  OF  THE  MISSISSIPPI  RIVER— SOME  CORRECTIONS  IN  HISTORY— A  WORLDS 

WONDERFUL  DRAMA  OF   NI^ARLY  THREE  HUNDRED  YEARS'  DURATION,    ETC. 


"Should  you  ask  me,  whence  these  stones, 
Whence  these  legends  and  traditions 
With  the  odors  of  the  forests, 
With  the  curling  smoke  of  wigwams, 
With  the  rushing  of  great  rivers 

I  repeat  them  as  I  heard  them." — Longfellow. 

THE  truth  of  history  in  regard  to  the  great 
Mississippi  Valley  is  only  just  now  being 
examined  closely  by  the  impartial  investiga- 
tors, and  the  facts  in  relation  thereto  are  slowly 
coming  to  light.  For  this  empire  of  mag- 
nificent proportions,  the  great  powers  of  the 
Old  World  contended  for  nearly  three  hundred 
years,  and  it  is  a  singular   fact   that   these 


warlike  nations  that  only  struggled  for  wealth 
and  empire  by  the  power  of  the  sword,  were 
in  nearly  all  instances  guided  and  pointed 
the  way  into  the  heart  of  the  New  World,  and 
the  home  of  the  powerful  savage  tribes  by 
the  missionaries  of  the  Catholic  Church,  who 
carried  nothing  more  formidable  for  defense 
or  attack  than  their  prayer  books  and  rosaries, 
and  the  word,  "peace  on  earth  and  good 
will  to  men."  The  French  Catholic  mission- 
aries were  as  loyal  to  their  Government  as 
they  were  true  to  their  God.  They  planted 
the  lilies  of  France  and  erected  the  cross  of 


HISTORY  OF  UNION  COUNTY. 


253 


the  Mother  Church  in  the  newly  discovered 
countries,  and  chanted  the  solemn  mass  that 
soothed  the  savage  breast,  and  spoke  peace 
and  good  vs^ill,  and  smoked  the  calumet  with 
wild  men  of  the  woods. 

The  settlement  of  the  West  and  the  iivst 
discoveries  were  made  by  the  French,  and  it 
was  long  afterward  the  country  passed  into 
the  permanent  possession  of  the  English;  the 
latter  people  wrote  the  histories  and  tinged 
them  from  first  to  last  with  their  prejudices, 
and  thus  promulgated  many  serioiis  errors  of 
history.  Time  will  always  produce  the  icon- 
oclast who  will  dispassionately  follow  out  the 
truth  regardless  of  how  many  fictions  it  may 
brush  away  in  its  course.  Thus,  history  is 
being  continually  re- written,  and  the  truth  is 
ever  making  its  approaches;  and  the  glorious 
deeds  of  the  noble  sons  of  France  are  becom- 
ing manifest  as  the  views  of  our  history  are 
brought  to  light,  particularly  their  occupancy 
of  the  valley  of  the  Father  of  Waters.  As 
early  as  150-t  the  French  seamen,  from  Brit- 
tany and  Normandy  visited  the  fisheries  of 
Newfoundland  and  Nova  Scotia.  These  bold 
and  daring  men  traversed  the  ocean  through 
the  dangers  of  ice  and  stormsto  pursue  the  oc- 
cupation of  fishery,  an  enterprise  which  to-day 
has  developed  into  one  of  gigantic  magnitude. 

France,  not  long  after  this,  commissioned 
James  Cartier,  a  distinguished  mariner,  to 
explore  America.  In  1535,  in  pursuance  of 
the  order,  they  planted  the  cross  on  the 
shores  of  the  New  World,  on  the  banks  of 
the  St.  Lawrence,  bearing  a  shield  witb  the 
lilies  of  France.  He  was  followed  by  other 
adventurous  spirits,  and  among  them  the  im- 
mortal Samuel  Champlain,  a  man  of  great 
enterprises,  who  founded  Quebec  in  1608. 
Champlain  ascended  the  Sorel  Eiver;  ex- 
plored Lake  Champlain,  which  bears  his 
name  to-day.  He  afterward  penetrated  the 
forest    and   found  his    grave    on    the    bleak 


shores  of  Lake  Huron.  He  was  unsurpassed 
for  bravery,  indefatigable  in  industry,  and 
was  one  of  the  leading  spirits  in  explorations 
and  discoveries  in  the  New  W^orld. 

In  the  van  of  the  explorations  on  this  con- 
tinent were  found  the  courageous  and  pious 
Catholic  missionaries,  meeting  dangers  and 
death  with  a  crucifix  upon  their  breasts,  bre- 
viary in  hand,  whilst  chanting  their  matins 
and  vespers,  along  the  shores  of  our  majestic 
rivers,  great  lakes  and  unbroken  forests. 
Their  course  was  marked  through  the  track- 
less wilderness  by  the  carving  of  their  em- 
blems of  faith  upon  the  roadway,  amidst 
perils  and  dangers,  without  food,  but  pounded 
maize,  sleeping  in  the  woods  without  shelter, 
their  couch  being  the  ground  and  rock;  their 
beacon  light,  the  cross,  which  was  marked 
upon  the  oak  of  the  forest  in  their  pathway. 

After  these  missionaries  had  selected  their 
stations  of  worship,  the  French  hunters, 
couriers  de  bois,  voyagers  and  traders,  opened 
their  traffic  with  the  savages.  France,  when 
convenient  and  expedient,  erected  a  chain  of 
forts  along  the  rivers  and  lakes,  in  defense 
of  Christianity  and  commerce. 

France,  from  1608,  acquired  in  this  conti- 
nent a  territory  extensive  enough  to  create  a 
great  empire,  and  was  at  that  time  untrod  by 
the  foot  of  the  white  man,  and  inhabited  by 
roving  tribes  of  the  red  man.  As  early  as 
1615,  we  find  Father  Le  Carron,  a  Catholic 
priest,  in  the  forests  of  Canada,  exploring 
the  country  for  the  purpose  of  converting  the 
savages  to  the  Christian  religion.  The  fol- 
lowing year  he  is  seen  on  foot  traversing  the 
forests  amongst  the  Mohawks,  and  reaching 
the  rivers  of  the  Ottawas.  He  was  followed 
by  other  missionaries  along  the  basin  of  the 
St.  Lawrence  and  Kennebec  Rivers,  where 
some  met  their  fate  in  frail  barks,  whilst 
others  perished  in  the  storms  of  a  dreadful 
wilderness. 


254 


HISTORY  OF  UNION  COUNTY. 


In  1635,  we  find  Father  Jean  Brebeauf, 
Daniels  and  Gabriel  Lallamand  leaving 
Quebec  with  a  few  Huron  braves  to  explore 
Lake  Huron,  to  establish  chapels  along  its 
banks,  from  which  sprung  the  villages  of  St. 
Joseph,  St.  Ignatius  and  St.  Louis.  To 
reach  these  places  it  was  necessary  to  follow 
the  Ottawa  River  through  a  dangerous  and 
devious  way  to  avoid  the  Mohawks,  Oneidas, 
Cayugas,  Senecas  and  Iroquois,  fonning  a 
confederacy  as  the  ''Five  Nations,"  occupy- 
ing a  territory  then  known  as  the  New  York 
colony,  who  were  continually  at  war  with  the 
Hurons,  a  tribe  of  Indians  inhabiting  Lake 
Huron  territory. 

As  early  as  1639,  three  Sisters  of  Charity, 
from  France,  arrived  at  Quebec,  dressed  in 
plain  black  gowns  with  snowy  white  collars, 
whilst  from  their  girdle  hung  the  rosary.  They 
proceeded  to  the  chapel,  led  by  the  Governor 
of  Canada,  accompanied  by  braves  and  war- 
riors, to  chant  the  Te  Deum.  These  holy 
and  pious  women,  moved  by  religious  zeah 
immediately  established  the  Ursuline  Con- 
vent for  the  education  of  girls.  In  addition 
to  this,  the  King  of  France  and  nobility  of 
Paris  endowed  a  seminary  in  Quebec  for  the 
education  of  all  classes  of  persons.  A  public 
hospital  was  built  by  the  generous  Duchess 
of  D'Arguilon,  with  the  aid  of  Cardinal 
Eichelieu,  for  the  unfortunate  emigrants,  to 
the  savages  of  all  tribes,  and  afflicted  of  all 
classes.  A  missionary  station  was  established 
as  early  as  1641,  at  Montreal,  under  a  rude 
tent,  from  which  has  grown  the  large  city  of 
to-day,  with  its  magnificent  cathedral  and 
churches,  its  massive  business  houses,  audits 
commerce. 

The  tribes  of  Huron  Lake  and  neighboring 
savages,  in  1641,  met  on  the  banks  of  the 
Iroquois  Bay  to  celebrate  the  "  Festival  of 
the  Dead."  The  bones  and  ashes  of  the  dead 
had'  been  gathered  in  coffins  of  bark,  whilst 


wrapped  in  magnificent  furs,  to  be  given  an 
affectionate  sepulture.  At  this  singular  fes- 
tival of  the  savages  the  chiefs  and  braves  of 
different  tribes  chanted  their  low,  mournful 
songs  day  and  night,  amidst  the  wails  and 
gi-oans  of  their  women  and  children.  During 
this  festival  appeared  the  pious  missionai'ies, 
in  their  cassocks,  with  beads  to  their  girdle, 
sympathizing  with  the  red  men  in  their  de- 
votion to  the  dead,  whilst  scattering  their 
medals,  pictures  of  oiu*  Savior,  and  blessed 
and  beautiful  beads,  which  touched  and  won 
the  hearts  of  the  sons  of  the  forest.  What  a 
beautiful  spectacle  to  behold,  over  the  graves 
of  the  fierce  warriors,  idolatry  fading  before 
the  Son  of  God!  Father  Charles  Raymbault 
and  the  indomitable  Isaac  Joques,  in  1641, 
left  Canada  to  explore  the  cotintry  as  far  as 
Lake  Superior.  They  reached  the  Falls  of 
St.  oMary's,  and  established  a  station  at 
Sault  de  Ste.  Mai'ie,  where  were  assembled 
many  warriors  and  braves  from  the  great 
West,  to  see  and  hear  these  two  apostles  of 
religion  and  to  behold  the  cross  of  Chris- 
tianity. These  two  missionaries  invoked 
them  to  worship  the  true  God.  The  savages 
were  struck  with  the  emblem  of  the  cross 
and  its  teachings,  and  exclaimed  :  "  We 
embrace  you  as  brothers  ;  come  and  dwell  in 
our  cabins. " 

When  Father  Joques  and  his  party  were 
returning  from  the  Falls  of  St.  Mary's  to 
Quebec,  they  were  attacked  by  the  Mohawks, 
who  massacred  the  chief  and  his  braves  who 
accompanied  him,  whilst  they  held  Father 
Joques  in  captivity,  showering  upon  him  a 
great  many  indignities,  compelling  him  to  run 
the  gantlet  throitgh  their  village.  Father 
Brussini  at  the  same  time  was  beaten,  muti- 
lated, and  made  to  walk  barefooted  through 
thorns  and  briars,  and  then  scotirged  by  a 
whole  village.